All local safeguarding boards across England are expected to
have procedures in place for responding to unexpected childhood
deaths. The Rapid Response Service is a team of senior nurses and
we come together for the purpose of enquiring into and evaluating
each unexpected death of a child (up to 18th birthday) together
with other agencies
This service has an important role in offering specialist advice
and coordinating the response to unexpected deaths.
The main focus of the service is to:
Establish the cause of death
Identify contributory factors and learning lessons
Supporting the family
We respond quickly to the unexplained death of a child to offer
support to the family, and to investigate the circumstances of the
death, in agreement with the coroner.
We maintain contact at regular intervals with family members and
other professionals who have ongoing responsibilities for the
family, to ensure they are informed and kept up-to-date with
information about the child's death.
The team is led by Catherine Hodgkiss (Rapid Response Manager) and
Dr Heather Smith, Consultant Paediatrician, together with 6 senior
nurses supporting the service.
The service operates across County Durham and Darlington from 7 am
to 10 p.m. - 7 days per week including bank holidays and can be
contacted on 01388 455126.
'Care received was fantastic and I was very well looked after
and very impressed.'
Patient, Day Surgery, Darlington Memorial Hospital