‘Too many’ babies taken to King George A&E by parents

King George Hospital, Barley Lane

King George Hospital, Barley Lane - Credit: Archant

Coughs, colds and bruises are among reasons parents in Redbridge inappropriately rush their babies to A&E, according to health bosses.

The borough’s clinical commisioning group (CCG) has issued advice to concerned mums, dads and carers as emergency departments at Queen’s and King George hospitals prepare for difficult winters.

Health chiefs say the top reasons babies and toddlers are taken to A&E unnecessarily include:

• Ear infections

• Upset tummies

• Constipation

• Bumps and bruises

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• Coughs and colds

Advice cards providing guidance for parents on where their child can most appropriately get care are available from local children’s centres and A&Es.

Redbridge CCG chair Dr Anil Mehta, also a GP, said: “There’s nothing more precious to us than our children but that doesn’t mean A&E is always the best place for them when they get ill.

“All too often, people go to A&E when they could get help more quickly and more appropriately somewhere else.

“Some of the most common complaints seen at A&Es for children could easily be treated somewhere else.

“Our new advice card is easy to keep with you and provides straightforward advice on the best way to look after your loved ones.”

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) runs A&Es at Queen’s and King George.

Clinical Director for Emergency Care Donna Kinnair said: “We understand how worrying it can be when your child is ill, but we see so many youngsters in our emergency departments that really don’t need to be here.

“It would be far better for them and their families to access care closer to home, in a community setting.

“It is crucial that the staff in our hospitals are available to provide life-saving treatment to seriously ill patients – including children and babies – who need emergency care.”

So far this year more than 6,000 babies and toddlers aged between 0-3 have been seen by staff at King George, Barley Lane, Goodmayes. Almost 17,000 have been treated, discharged or transferred at Queen’s, Rom Valley Way, Romford.

Last month, the government announced a £4million winter crisis pot for BHRUT, with much of the cash earmarked for covering the costs of extra A&E capacity amid unprecedented demand.