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Children should be assessed at A&E in 15 mins

3rd May 2012

New standards for children attending A&E or walk-in centres have been set by the Royal Colleges to ensure they all work to the same level.

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The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, working with other organisations, want to see an initial clinical assessment, or triage, within 15 minutes of the patient’s arrival.

Larger A&E departments should employ a consultant who has had extra training in paediatric emergency medicine, children’s nurses should be available on every shift and doctors should have training in assessing the mental health of children.

In addition, the report by the colleges added that at least one cubicle should be kept free for child patients in larger units and all staff should have 24-hour access to experts in child protection.

The colleges also noted a degree of confusion among parents as to where they should take their child if they are involved in an accident or fall ill at a time that emergency and urgent care services in the NHS have diversified.

Figures show that 4.3m patients aged up to 15 attended A&E departments or other urgent care centres in 2009/10.

College President Professor Terence Stephenson said that with significant changes to how urgent healthcare is provided to children in the UK, with care provided in a range of settings, it was important that clear standards were set for providers to ensure consistency in the level of service.

“This publication is key to setting – and raising – standards; providing practical guidelines and, for the first time, measurable targets,” he said.

 

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