Croydon A&E to receive funding for dedicated youth workers

Croydon A&E. Pic: Marathon.

Croydon University Hospital has received a grant to station dedicated youth workers in its A&E department.

 Croydon Health Service NHS Trust is part of Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s new strategy to tackle violent crime in the borough. The Mayor has dedicated £4m of government spending to five hospitals that have the highest number of crime related incidents across the Capital. 

The scheme was announced on October 14 and includes stationing youth workers in Newham General Hospital in Plaistow, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, University Hospital Lewisham and Whittington Hospital, covering Islington and Haringey.

The system is currently underway in London’s four Major Trauma Centres – Kings, St George’s, St Marys and the Royal London hospitals. Theses specialist trauma centres will also see an increase in the numbers of youth workers already working within their units.

The project is expanding after already demonstrating significant effectiveness in Trauma Centres. There were over 1,000 young people who needed support from youth workers in 2018 alone, and 432 of them received help with education, housing and relationships in order to move away from violence and crime. 

Of the 432 young people supported, 52 of them were under the age of 18 and were not known to social services. All of the patients who were offered the service were approached in Major trauma centres. The new strategy aims to identify these individuals at an earlier stage, when less serious injuries occur, when they are much more receptive to change.

Sarah McLaggan, Head of Children’s Nursing said:“We’re incredibly pleased to benefit from additional support in our A&E department, ensuring we can offer young people access to a specialist youth worker to engage with them before they suffer serious violence.

“Croydon is home to more young people than any other London borough – we have 93,000 under 18s.”

The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime have provided an extra £2.5m, and London’s Violence Reduction Unit an additional £1.5m, to assist in introducing these workers in all five A&E departments.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It is a tragedy that our city is being robbed of young people with so much potential and it is vital we do all we can to help them move away from a life of violence. 

“Embedding youth workers in hospitals has already made a profound difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable young Londoners, reaching them at a crucial junction in their lives and helping them choose a different path away from violence. This is why I am investing record amounts to significantly expand this work and introduce specialist youth workers to more A&E departments.”

Over the next few months a model will be developed on how to implement the additional staff and Hospital based embedded youth work services will be providing training for current clinical staff to ensure they are also able to identify young people at-risk of serious violence.

McLaggan added: “We’re already working closely with young people and our partners on this issue. We’ve trained our own A&E staff to spot the signs of gang violence and since Croydon Council launched its Choose Your Future campaign at the end of 2017, the borough has seen a 12 per cent drop in knife crime, bucking the trend elsewhere in the capital.

“Thanks to this additional funding, we’ll be able to offer early intervention, more easily to Croydon’s young people if and when they need it.”

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