Children’s service praised at Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital

By Lisa O'Brien | Oswestry | Health | Published:

The children’s and young people service at Oswestry’s orthopaedic hospital has been praised by a health watchdog for employing a school teacher to support patients.

School teacher Helen Portman, right, with Alice Ward patient Harry Johnson and healthcare assistant Jean Blakemore

The service at Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital has received praise from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Shropshire Tuition Medical and Behaviour Support Service (TMBSS) works with the Alice Ward and specialist teacher Helen Portman to support patients’ learning.

Alice Ward is the dedicated children’s ward at the hospital and admits children and young people for planned orthopaedic surgery or rehabilitation.

Helen said: “My overall aim is to provide an enjoyable and enriching learning experience for children by developing creative and personalised learning programmes tailored to each child’s needs and abilities.

“I liaise closely with each child’s school so they remain involved in their care and also are aware of the progress the child is making through the curriculum. I don’t just focus on a child’s education; I also help them with their general wellbeing such as their self-esteem and confidence.”

Helen has been part of the team on Alice Ward since September 2013 and works weekdays during term time.

She added: “I work closely with the team on the ward including the nurses, therapy staff and healthcare assistants. The multi-disciplinary approach means children will stay motivated and engaged in the school work and it really does become an integral part of their rehabilitation.

“I’m delighted the CQC understand the value of children’s education continuing whilst in hospital.”


The recent CQC report that was published following an inspection highlighted Helen and her role on the ward as outstanding practice.

Suzanne Marsden, Alice Ward and children’s outpatients manager, said: “Having Helen as part of the team on the ward is extremely beneficial to the development of our patients

“Some of our patients, especially if having complex surgery or those who are part of the physiotherapy rehabilitation programme, can be in hospital for a while and Helen ensures they keep on top with their school work and also provides structure to their stay.

“I’m delighted Helen and her work was highlighted by the CQC.”

James Pearson, assistant head of service for TMBSS, said: “Collaboration with the hospital staff, schools and parents is vital to giving young people the care and education they deserve. We are extremely pleased that the work of Helen and the team is recognised as outstanding.”

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.


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