Downing Street date for Sussex children’s nurse

A specialist children’s nurse from West Sussex met with David Cameron during an event at 10, Downing Street to celebrate leadership in nursing.

Denise Matthams was invited to the reception in recognition of her dedication to children’s nursing, and her determination to ensure that young people get the best care that the

NHS can give them.

Her drive has already seen her awarded a prestigious Florence Nightingale Leadership Scholarship.

In the year of this scholarship she is working to support her colleagues at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust – working outside specialist children’s areas – to be more ready and

able to meet the specific needs of child patients.

Denise, the trust’s head of children’s nursing and services who works at both Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, will also travel to South Africa later this year to see first-hand how they provide high-quality care for children on a far tighter budget.

“I was amazed when the invitation came through – I thought ‘Who is doing this? Why is the Prime Minister emailing me?’” she said. “It was an honour to be there, and to be among people who have shown such strong leadership.

“I did manage to speak to the Prime Minister – he was interested in the Florence Nightingale Scholarship and I took the opportunity to talk about the importance of keeping up the profile of children’s needs within the NHS.

“During my scholarship year I have chosen to see how we can make a difference for children. Young people are seen throughout the Trust – in A&E, in surgery, in pain management, everywhere – and I am working with colleagues to promote the standards we aspire to, and to help all my colleagues deliver the standards you would expect to find

in a specialist children’s area.”

Cathy Stone, director of nursing and patient safety, said: “Denise fully deserves her scholarship, and her visit to Downing Street is yet more recognition of the work that she does.

“We want to encourage our nurses to show strong leadership, and to play an active role in ensuring that our patients get excellent care – Denise is a superb example of someone who is doing just that. She is a terrific role model for other nurses, and a fantastic advocate for our young patients.”