Next steps for Child Renal Psychologist within UHW’s Children’s Kidney Centre


Notification of Funding Ending; Child Renal Psychologist.

In 2018, Kidney Wales agreed proof of concept funding for a part time Psychologist post at the University Hospital of Wales to work within the Children’s Kidney Centre (CKC). Initially the duration of the agreement was from 3rd December 2018 to 3rd December 2020, and was later extended to 31st July 2021 to accommodate maternity leave for the post holder.

 

Recognising the value of the service, it is now time to consider its future when the Kidney Wales funding comes to an end. We are pleased to hear and share that Kidney Care UK will be funding the post for one more year. The two-year funding by us was to pilot a Psychology service within the CKC, whilst gathering information and evidence about the long-term need.  The aim was to highlight the importance of such a service, so that long-term NHS funding could be established going forward.

 


Within the timeframe, the Psychologist had three key agendas.

The first was to establish what a psychology service like this should look like. This was done by researching literature, policies and best practice guidelines, and bench marking against other paediatric renal services in the UK.  Such information has been submitted to relevant commissioning bodies and health boards to demonstrate the long-term need.

 

The second was to offer ongoing support, consultation and education for the staff at the CKC. This has included facilitating weekly meetings in which the psychological and social needs of families are discussed as a team; as well as offering regular Mindfulness meditation sessions for staff members to support their own wellbeing. One of the Paediatric Nephrologists in the service commented “I have never learned so much about psychology as I have working with you”.

 

The third agenda was to offer psychology support directly to families. The post enabled over 30 families to access individualised psychological support, receiving feedback such as “feeling a lot better in myself, it has really helped” and “This service has been invaluable for my family”. In addition, the postholder worked alongside two mothers of children with Chronic Kidney Disease, Julie and Karen, in setting up a Parent/Carer Coffee Morning that now meets regularly.

 

It is widely agreed that the post has been a great success and has demonstrated the positive impact, and clinical need, of a psychology service within the CKC. There is still uncertainty as to whether long-term NHS funding for the post will be obtained, yet a number of funding streams are being investigated with optimism. Kidney Wales are immensely proud to have funded this pilot Psychology post and of the work that has been done to date. We are hopeful that it will have a lasting impact on families of a child with Chronic Kidney Disease across Wales in the future.