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Developing a programme of staff support in a children’s hospital
  1. Chloe Macaulay,
  2. Harriet Conniff
  1. Department of General Paediatrics, Evelina London Children's Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Chloe Macaulay, Evelina London Children's Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK; chloe.macaulay{at}

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The management of children who are seriously ill or with life-threatening conditions has always been difficult, and the stakes are high. More recently, the range of illnesses and conditions has changed: presentations have become increasingly complex. Caring for such children and their families brings new challenges.1 Our hospital has seen a rise in the length of stay and complexity of patients, and the associated challenges mentioned. The literature points to the detrimental effect of such cases on staff well-being.2 In November 2019, the General Medical Council (GMC) also acknowledged the impact of burnout and overload on patient care.3 In our hospital, staff reported a negative personal impact of their work, and this was apparent in increased requests for psychological debriefs.

Establishing the SuPPORT programme

This programme has involved a culture change whereby we openly acknowledge the emotional stress of working in Paediatrics. By addressing the psychological needs of staff, we hope to strengthen their ability to look after children and their families.

We established a working group to implement change: the programme of work began by exploring and developing a robust protocol for debrief after difficult events, with psychologist-mediated debrief …

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  • Twitter @drchloemac

  • Contributors CM and HC drafted the article jointly.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.