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Specialist nurse role: the savings I make show we shouldn't be used to fill staffing gaps

Epilepsy specialist nurse's support line has saved her trust £85,000 

Epilepsy specialist nurse's support line has saved her trust £85,000 


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A specialist nurse has saved her trust almost £85,000 by setting up a helpline for families with children who have epilepsy.

Epilepsy nurse Kirsten Johnson works for Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and set up the support line to provide parents, young people, carers and schools with a first point of contact for any health concerns.

The hotline has received more than 1,200 calls and almost 2,000 texts in a year.

Minimising hospital admissions

Through it, Ms Johnson helps families manage most epilepsy episodes without the children requiring hospital admission.

Now the RCN is using her work to demonstrate of why specialist nurses are needed in their roles – instead of being pulled away to address general staffing shortages. 

They are also saving the health service money, RCN analysis suggests.

‘Investment in specialist skills could ease pressure on multiple parts of our health and social care system as well as offering better patient outcomes’

Ms Johnson undertook an economic assessment of the service she developed and found the hotline saved the trust almost £85,000 worth of resources a year. 

Enormous benefits

RCN research and innovation manager Ann McMahon said: ‘This study has revealed the enormous benefits specialist nurses bring not only to patients, but to their trusts and the wider economy.

‘It shows investment in specialist skills could ease pressure on multiple parts of our health and social care system as well as offering better patient outcomes.’

Ms Johnson said: ‘Epilepsy often causes a huge amount of distress. But it can be managed. If parents, schools and carers have specialist help just a phone call away, it gives them the information and confidence to care for a child with epilepsy.’

'I'd like to see as many similar roles as possible'

She said she would encourage other trusts to develop similar roles.

‘I really enjoy my job, and seeing the difference it makes to children, young people, their families and the trust is very gratifying,’ she said.

‘My role is an essential part of the epilepsy service here and I would like to see similar roles in as many trusts as possible.’


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