A CHILDREN'S palliative care model pioneered by a leading hospice charity should be extended across Scotland, according to a report today.

The charity, Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS), has employed three nurses to work in hospitals and communities in Glasgow, Edinburgh and the north of Scotland since 2014.

The dedicated staff, known as Diana Nurses, have been credited with helping to support families to make informed choices on their child’s care and end of life, and ensuring there was on-going support for families to services they would not otherwise have accessed - including bereavement support.

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The independent report, 'An Evaluation of the Diana Children’s Nurse Service', commissioned by the charity, found that there had been a 46 per cent increase from 2015/16 to 2016/17 in the number of children and families supported by the nurses, from 97 in the first year to 142 in 2016/17.

They delivered over 91 training courses between 2015 and 20117 to increase understanding, skills and confidence in children’s palliative care among health professionals.

The report concluded: “Capacity should be increased to enable DCN specialisms or nurses with similar skills to roll out across the whole country, and address some of the logistical challenges of working in the North of Scotland, and within other specialisms across the other areas of Scotland.”

Sue Hogg, Director of Children and Families at CHAS, said: “The Children in Scotland report shows we are providing the right support to those who need us – both families and health care providers, and this is evidenced by families and staff.

“As Scotland’s national children’s hospice service we are continually working to increase our understanding of children’s palliative care needs and how we can address them.”

Fiona McQueen, the Scottish Government’s Chief Nursing Officer, said: “This report shows, not only the value of palliative care for children in Scotland, but the real impact Diana Nurses have had in improving care for families at such a critical point in their lives.”