About the Social Work service

​The Social Work service is part of the Psychosocial and Family Services at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH.) The service includes social workers, family support officers and family support workers, providing a direct service to children and families.

Social workers

Our social workers are employed by the London Borough of Camden and a specialist charity, but are based and managed at GOSH. We work in multi-disciplinary teams, attached to and working closely with medical units. We:

  • Assess the impact of illness on a child and family, and provide emotional and practical support for the whole family.

  • Advocate on a child or family’s behalf with teams at GOSH and in the community and provide consultation and advice.

  • Organise complex discharge plans where psychosocial needs are included.

  • Work with medical teams and other local authorities in the identification and response to child protection concerns.

  • Provide formal and informal teaching within the hospital.

Family support officers

Family support officers are employed by GOSH and work in the cardiac and palliative care teams alongside social workers to provide a service specific to children and families in those speciality areas. This includes offering practical and financial advice and support.

Family support workers

Family support workers are employed by GOSH. We work together to enable children and families to cope with the stress of illness and the experience of staying in hospital.

We can provide practical advice and assistance to children and families, including advice on welfare, benefits and financial support.

Families can make an appointment to see a duty family support worker from Monday to Friday 9 am to 5pm for an assessment of need.

Our legal responsibility

All social workers work within a legal framework as laid out in the Children Acts of 1989 and 2004. This means we will liaise closely with agencies in the community to ensure that children receive appropriate care. Social workers carry out assessments of children in need and also carry out their legal duty to investigate in order to safeguard children at risk of harm.

How we can help

Our aim is to make things less stressful for you and your child while you are at GOSH. We can:

  • talk to you and your child if you are worried

  • provide support, advice and guidance to help you cope with day-to-day issues

  • speak to other hospital staff on your behalf

  • talk to community services about arranging help at home for when your child leaves hospital

  • support your other children if they are worried about their brother or sister who is ill

  • support your child in coping with their illness

  • talk to staff both at GOSH and in your local area so that everyone understands your child’s needs.

  • identify children at risk of harm and work to protect them 

Our commitment to you

While we work with you and your family, we will always try to respond to your child’s needs in a way that respects individual and cultural differences. We will always try to understand and respect your views about your child’s welfare and take these into account when working with you. We will arrange for an interpreter if you and/or your child need one.

If you have any comments or concerns about any aspect of the service you receive, please contact the Social Work Service.

Access to our records

We do keep a record of our assessment and any discussions with you and other people involved in your child’s care. This ensures that the information we have is up to date and accurate. All records are held on a computer system. This is managed and maintained by the London Borough of Camden.

This information will, of course, be kept safely and securely, following strict rules of confidentiality at all times. If you would like to know more about these records, please ask us. If you would prefer that such information is not kept, please discuss this with us immediately, as it may affect our ability to provide the service you need.