10 August 2021

Newham based Specialist Children's & Young People's Services (SCYPS) Children's Transitional Nurse Natalia Campbell is the 80th specialist nurse in the UK to be established by Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity - and, with the Trust, the first in the UK to work entirely in a non-hospital community setting.

Her role will help seriously ill young people and their families through the transition from childhood to adulthood. Transition is when young people move from children’s to adult health and social care systems while also dealing with the challenges of becoming a young adult.

Natalia said: “I focus on children with special educational needs and disabilities as they start secondary school, preparing the young person and their families for the time when they will enter into adulthood. For many families, this brings a lot of uncertainty and anxiety, especially if they have known one team of health care professionals throughout childhood.”

ELFT was one of 60 NHS Trusts that applied to the charity to establish a Roald Dahl Transition Nurse, a post for which the charity has been fundraising.

Natalia will work alongside the existing specialist children’s and young people’s services in Newham, while also bringing in the learning and leadership gained from belonging to the network of Roald Dahl Specialist Nurses across the UK.

Newham SCYPS Children's community matron Rebecca Daniels said: "Our Roald Dahl Transition Nurse in the community setting is the first across the country and with it brings so much excitement for the change and positive impact Natalia will have on our young people with complex medical needs and special educational needs as they embark into their adult journey.

“Many of our young people in the past have struggled as they leave children's community nursing services due to the difference between children’s and adults’ community services. Natalia's role will bridge that gap and she will be the link to making their journey smoother and help services to identify improvement areas to support the young person and prepare them for adulthood. Natalia's passion for ensuring young people are supported and enabled to live their best experience and life into adulthood is infectious and will have a big impact across our specialist children and young peoples' services in Newham."

Roald Dahl Specialist Nurses work with the family as well as colleagues across a complex health and social care system, from GPs to acute hospital services, bringing in social care and community support, third-party equipment providers, financial help, education, housing and mental health and wellbeing services.

Natalia said: “Although my role is attached to an NHS Trust, it is not attached to a hospital, therefore I have an even bigger circle of colleagues to work with in order to provide the best care for my patients.”

Moving from children’s to adult services can be daunting for young people and their families; the services do not always align, the care teams are different and there are different expectations on the patients. Practically, moving from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independent Payments is difficult to navigate, and 16 to and 18-year-olds have more rights and independence which are new for parents to both navigate and respond to. Emotionally, families can sometimes find ‘letting go’ difficult as the young person seeks independence, especially when they have been used to doing everything for the child.

Natalia added: “Without support, my patients and families would face a very scary adult world where nothing makes sense and where they no longer are entitled to the care that they so heavily relied upon as they were growing up. Some parents may not feel that they have the tools to be able to advocate for their young person. They may not know how to or where to access information from in order to support the needs of the family.”

There are more than 200 young people in Newham aged between 12 and 18 who have special educational needs and complex health needs, neurodegenerative conditions, visual or hearing impairments, autism and other long-term needs.

Find out more about the Roald Dahl Marvellous Children's Charity here.