When a child becomes very ill parents often stop or reduce work at a time when there are increased costs such as hospital travel and unexpected child care. Such drops of income can mean that debts that were manageable become unsustainable, and families can struggle for even basic needs like food and heating. In addition, homes can become unsuitable due to disability adaptation needs. This can all come at a time of extreme stress, which can leave families unable to deal with what might usually be every day matters.
Great Ormond Street Hospital is fortunate to have a free independent advice service on site to help families with legal and financial advice in these trying circumstances, delivered by Citizens Advice Camden since 2008 in partnership with GOSH. The service is funded by Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.
The Princess Royal visited in her role as patron of Citizens Advice, the national membership charity for local Citizens Advice services, a position she has held since 1990.
During the visit The Princess Royal was given a tour of the Citizens Advice office at the hospital and met families who have received support from the service, including 13-year-old patient Bisma and her mother Tahira. Tahira received advice following her daughter’s admission for long-term renal problems.
The Princess Royal also met staff and volunteers from Citizens Advice Camden, the hospital, and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.
Peter Steer, Chief Executive of GOSH, said: “The children we see at Great Ormond Street Hospital come from across the UK and have very complex health conditions, which mean that many require long-term inpatient treatment in the hospital itself. Caring for a very unwell child in such circumstances can have a huge impact on families. Often being far from home and with other children to care for, parents can struggle to access the advice services they require while needing to stay with their sick child.
“We were delighted to welcome The Princess Royal to the hospital to see first-hand how the Citizens Advice service at GOSH plays a critical role in ensuring families receive the advice they need.”
Neal Donnelly, Director, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, said: “Without the generosity of our supporters we would not be able to fund vital services such as Citizens Advice. We’re so grateful to our supporters who enable the charity to fund vital projects such as this that ensure the hospital is a place where the child and their whole family are cared for, from financial advice and spiritual counselling, to the provision of accommodation for parents.”
Liz Barclay, Chair of Citizens Advice Camden, said: “I would like to thank The Princess Royal for helping us celebrate Citizens Advice Camden Great Ormond Street in our work supporting families at GOSH at times of extreme stress.”
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Notes to Editors
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust is the country’s leading centre for treating sick children, with the widest range of specialists under one roof.
With the UCL Institute of Child Health, we are the largest centre for paediatric research outside the US and play a key role in training children’s health specialists for the future.
Our charity needs to raise vital funds every year to help rebuild and refurbish Great Ormond Street Hospital, buy vital equipment and fund pioneering research. With your help we provide world class care to our very ill children and their families.