About the Social Work service

The Social Work Service is a key team within Clinical Support Services and falls within the remit of the Nursing and Patient Experience directorate at Great Ormond Street Hospital. 

The Social work services includes, Senior Practitioners, Social Workers and Family Support Officers all of whom offer a direct service to children and families, both inpatients and outpatients. In addition, qualified social workers and senior practitioners offer advice and consultation to colleagues at GOSH on social and child protection matters, and help deliver training on Safeguarding.

Social workers

GOSH social workers are based and managed at GOSH and work only on behalf of hospital patients in multi-disciplinary teams, attached to and working closely with medical units. Together 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.
  • Support 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 across all the teams in the hospital and alongside the social workers to provide a service specific to children and families. This includes offering practical, emotional and financial advice and support.

They work creatively to offer practical help as well as emotional support to reduce the stress of illness and the experience of staying in hospital for children and their parents or carers.

Family Support Officers 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 Officer from Monday to Friday 9 am to 5pm for an assessment of need by contacting the Social Work office.

Our legal responsibility

All social workers work within a legal framework as laid out by legislation, primarily the Children Acts of 1989 and 2004, and follow government policies such as Working Together to Safeguard Children. This means we will liaise closely with agencies in the community to ensure that children receive appropriate care both before and post discharge. Social workers carry out holistic assessments of need for children whose families would benefit from having this and where parents agree. Social workers work alongside medical and nursing colleagues to safeguard children we believe to be at risk of serious harm by identifying risk and planning protective actions.

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 meetings, advocacy work, 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 in the social work section of the GOSH patient record. This information will, of course, be kept safely and securely and in accordance with the law.