Hospital bosses speak out after big increase in children attending Royal Preston's Emergency Department

Hospital bosses are urging parents to think twice about whether their child needs to be taken to the Emergency Department.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Friday, 9th July 2021, 3:13 pm

A statement has been issued by the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, reminding parents that "fevers and sniffles are very common in young children and usually aren't serious".

It comes after more than 100 children were taken to the Emergency Department over the course of three days this week. The current number of children attending is 76 per cent higher when compared to the same period in 2019.

The cause of the increase is under investigation, but doctors are keen that appropriate alternatives to A&E are considered, so that very sick children can be "seen and managed quickly".

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The Royal Preston Hospital

However, they are keen to stress that all children who need urgent medical help in hospital will receive it.

A statement issued by the Trust says: "We are currently seeing an increasing number of children arrive in our Emergency Department at Royal Preston and the same is true of all surrounding hospitals.

"For many this was not the best place for them to receive their care."

It continues: "The majority of these children were streamed to the urgent care provider following initial assessment by our triage nurse, so they did not have to experience a long waiting in A&E.Our children’s assessment unit and ward have been very busy too.

"We totally understand that parents may be concerned, especially if their child is young and this is the first time they have been unwell.

"However please remember that fevers and sniffles are very common in young children and usually aren't serious.

"The majority of illnesses in children are minor and can be managed safely at home with help from the pharmacy, GP, Health visitor and advice from dialling 111.

"We would ask that children who can be safely managed in the community do not come to hospital so we can ensure our services flow well and very sick children can be seen and

managed quickly. This will also mean that you and your child do not experience an unnecessary delay in getting the right treatment.

"There are a few children who are more seriously ill and all primary care professionals have been trained to identify red flags and they know who should be referred to hospital.

"Be assured, all children who need urgent help in hospital will receive it."

When asked by the Post whether concerns surrounding Covid-19, frustrattions surrounding GP availability and instructions to attend A&E by the 111 phone service were behind the rise, Trust bosses said: "There could be a number of potential reasons for increased attendances and we are currently exploring this."

Important advice

Always seek medical advice if your baby or child:

- is under three months old and has a temperature of 38C (100F) or higher

- is three to six months old and has a temperature of 39C (102F) or higher

- has a fever lasting for more than five days, or is becoming more unwell

-is not drinking well or is dehydrated with fewer than two wet nappies a day

- develops a red rash that doesn't fade when a glass is rolled over it

- has a fit or convulsion

- is crying constantly, or it doesn't sound like their normal cry