Analysis

Nurses stress need for long-term planning and support for looked after children

As a cohort of patients, the number of looked after children is not great, but their needs certainly are. At last count, there were more than 92,000 in the UK, the highest number since the mid-1980s. Nearly half will have a mental health disorder and two thirds will have a physical health complaint

As a cohort of patients, the number of looked after children is not great, but their needs certainly are. At last count, there were more than 92,000 in the UK, the highest number since the mid-1980s. Nearly half will have a mental health disorder and two thirds will have a physical health complaint.

Yet, despite this, there are worrying gaps in the services being provided for them, according to latest research. A survey of 158 nurses working with looked-after children carried out by the RCN earlier this year has concluded that in too many areas they are receiving a ‘poor or limited service’.

The poll highlights ‘considerable variation’ across the country in the ways that services are set up and in nursing workloads. While nine out of ten nurses reported that their areas have a dedicated designated nurse for looked after children, in some places this role is

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