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Child emergency referrals refused by hospital

GPs have triggered an internal inquiry at a children's hospital after it refused to accept emergency referrals for two seriously ill children, forcing their GPs to phone around for alternatives.

Manchester LMC prompted a serious untoward incident investigation after complaining GPs were not notified that Royal Manchester Children's Hospital was closed to admissions and that it refused to treat two acutely ill patients they referred in December.

Dr John Hughes, honorary secretary of Manchester LMC, said: ‘An acutely ill patient should always be seen and stabilised at the nearest A&E until fit for transfer. A seriously ill child could die in transit without being seen by a paediatrician. GPs were put through to a consultant who maintained beds were full and it was up to the GP to find an alternative. One did manage to get a child to Wythenshawe Hospital, but it took her 20 minutes on the phone. That's unacceptable.'

Dr Hughes said GPs were not notified the trust was closed to admissions: ‘Normally we get an email if beds are full.'

Dr Mike Eeckelaers, chair of Central Manchester CCG, said: ‘I'm aware concerns have been raised and would be concerned if these things had happened.'

The hospital said: ‘The paediatric unit was closed to acute GP referrals in accordance with the Greater Manchester paediatric bed management policy,' adding that A&E was always open.

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