Youth violence prevention schemes at King’s College Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Emergency Departments have been recommended as blueprint models for other hospitals in a Home Office report.
The Emergency Departments at both St Thomas’ Hospital and King’s College Hospital run youth violence prevention schemes, which involve asking young people who attend Emergency Departments with injuries caused by violence whether they will consent to being referred to a youth worker. In serious cases, youth workers are on hand in our Emergency Departments to provide immediate support to young people who may have been involved in assaults or been injured.
The scheme at St Thomas’ Emergency Department is run in partnership with local charity Oasis, and the scheme at King’s College Hospital is run with local youth work charity Redthread. Both projects focus on the importance of connecting with young people at an early stage in their patient journey. After being referred to a youth worker, young people have the option of having regular follow-up meetings to provide the further support.
Guy's and St Thomas' Charity provided funding for the scheme at St Thomas' Emergency Department, which includes an evaluation by the Lifespan Reseacrh Group at Kingston University.
Paediatric Emergency Medicine Consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’, Dr John Criddle, was one of the driving forces behind setting up the scheme at St Thomas’ Emergency Department. He said: “In 2008, we were seeing young people coming back to emergency departments with escalating injuries... It made me think about how we worked and whether we could do something to prevent the escalation. Our youth violence prevention scheme has provided a means for the young people who present at St Thomas’ Emergency Department to get some follow-up support outside of the hospital setting.”
At King’s College Hospital’s Emergency Department a system has been introduced to monitor repeat attendees and identify which of the patients are most likely to engage with the scheme so that resources can be allocated. Dr Emer Sutherland, Emergency Medicine Consultant at King’s, explains: “We have established referral pathways for young victims of violence who also have substance misuse or sexual health problems and we are now actively looking for any signs of coercion from gangs during consultations.” The Trust is also considering creating an adolescent area in its re-designed Emergency Department.
To read the Home Office report – Ending Gang and Youth Violence – click here.