GREAT Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has joined up with two children’s hospices to offer vital support to families in Swindon.

In a partnership with Naomi House Children’s Hospice and Jessie May Children’s Hospice at Home, the new service will offer regular respite and medical support for families with children who have a life-limiting or life-threatening condition.

Sarah Merritt, divisional director of nursing in the Women and Children’s Division at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are privileged to be working with two leading hospice organisations that make a massive difference to local children and their families at extremely difficult times. This enhanced service will help us to provide more flexible, high quality and personalised care to local families and we look forward to seeing the difference it will make.”

Highly trained community nurses will look after the child’s medical needs, while the family will benefit from a regular break from their 24/7 caring role.

The service, which will be funded through charitable donations, will be available to families in Swindon, Marlborough, Devizes, Pewsey, Hungerford and Amesbury.

Mark Smith, chief executive at Naomi House and Jacksplace, highlighted that this partnership is a best practice example of how to improve the service on offer to families.

“By working in partnership with other charities and healthcare organisations, we can provide a greater quality and scope of service to meet the needs of local families,” he said.

“By providing an integrated service with the NHS and other partners, families receive a more joined up service and have access to a wider range of support and expertise,” he said.

Referrals can be made by families themselves or by professionals involved in their care by contacting Jessie May on 0117 961 6840 or

Chris Roys, chief executive officer for Jessie May, believes the new service will have immediate benefits for children and young people with life-limiting conditions.

“All of the children we aim to support have a limited life expectancy as well as complex health needs,” he said.

“Being able to choose to remain at home surrounded by family and friends and to die at home when the time comes is so important. There are no second chances.

"The highly trained and experienced Jessie May nurses working with colleagues in the NHS and at Naomi House Children’s Hospice will enable children and families in Swindon and Wiltshire to have greater choice.”