By Lucy Ashton
Don’t take your children to hospital unless you really have to. Parents are being reminded of alternative options to accident and emergency following record number of attendances at the Royal Hospital for Children.
Recent figures have shown a spike in attendance at the hospital with a high proportion of children being treated for non-urgent issues.
Traditionally November, December and January are extremely busy months and last week on average, 252 children attended at the A&E department each day for treatment. This is 25% higher than this year’s average.
Jamie Redfern, Director for Women and Children’s Services at NHSGGC, said: “A record number of 306 children presented at the RHC on Monday, 14 November which highlights the pressures the A&E department is facing.
“The figures show an increase in recent weeks and to try and accommodate this, we would ask parents to think if a visit to A&E is required or if the issue can be resolved in another way.
“Unless it is an emergency or life-threatening, there are a number of alternative services that should be accessed first including contacting your local pharmacy, GP, NHS 24, NHS inform or 111 before presenting at an emergency department.
“We also have access to emergency care consultations from the comfort of home through our virtual A&E service where parents can be given appointments for their children at our minor injuries units. This assists in reducing waiting times and queues at physical A&E.
“This not only benefits our staff and patients at the hospital but it can significantly reduce the waiting time for a child to be assessed.”
Emergency departments are busier than ever and NHSGGC are encouraging parents to ensure their children’s visit is essential or if an alternative means of treatment can be utilised.
Dr Scott Davidson, Deputy Medical Director for Acute Services at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, said: “Our staff are working around the clock to ensure the best level of care for our patients.
“Parents and children have access to a range of alternative services that can help reduce the waiting times for the sickest of patients and free up capacity.
“However, we would still like to stress that any child with a very urgent or life-threatening condition or injury should continue to call 999 or attend an emergency department as normal.”
For more information on children’s health or accident and injuries, please log on to the RHC website.