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Youth workers to be based at Newham University Hospital for the first time to work with vulnerable youth

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 October 2019

Newham Hospital's Accident and Emergency Unit. Picture: Luke Acton.

Newham Hospital's Accident and Emergency Unit. Picture: Luke Acton.

Luke Acton

A team of youth workers will be based at Newham University Hospital for the first time to work with young people caught up in violent crime.

It's part of a £4million investment by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to increase the number of youth workers in hospitals across the city - including in five additional A&E departments in areas with high levels of young victims of violence.

The funding will also increase the number of specialist youth workers already based in London's four major trauma centres (MTCs).

Youth workers based in hospital departments have found that young people who arrive at MTCs with serious injuries will have been to A&E previously with lower-level injuries.

Having youth workers based in A&E departments allows them intervene much earlier and engage with young people when they present with injuries - the time when they are most receptive to changing their behaviour.

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Mr Khan said: "It is a tragedy that our city is being robbed of young people with so much potential and it is vital we do all we can to help them move away from a life of violence.

"Embedding youth workers in hospitals has already made a profound difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable young Londoners, reaching them at a crucial junction in their lives and helping them to choose a different path away from violence."

Last year, more than 1,000 young people were identified as in need of specialist youth worker support in MTCs, due to potentially suffering violence or exploitation.

Youth workers were able to help 432 young people, aiding them in moving away from violence in their lives and assisting with education, relationships or housing.

Of these, 52 were under 18 and not previously known to support services.

St Giles Trust chief executive Rob Owen said: "Since 2015, we have been working in partnership with Barts NHS Trust in the Royal London Hospital's trauma unit, helping young patients admitted as a result of serious violence.

"Over this time, the partnership work has reduced readmission rates from 45 per cent to one per cent - something we believe is down to our model of close partnership with the hospital and the utilisation of professionally trained caseworkers who come from the same backgrounds and communities as the young people they are supporting."

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