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Out-of-hours fears for children

Paediatricians in Devon have raised fears that new out-of-hours services using fewer GPs will lead to problems dealing with children who have illnesses that could rapidly deteriorate.

The paediatricians based at local acute trusts said all frontline out-of-hours triage staff, including nurses, paramedics and emergency practitioners, should have immediate care qualifications such as Paediatric Life Support.

In a letter to Devon LMC, the paediatricians, led by Dr Charles Holme of Royal Devon and Exeter Healthcare NHS Trust, said it was vital out-of-hours clinicians knew when to seek appropriate help.

He cited diarrhoea and vomiting with a rapid pulse, children with bronchiolitis who are unable to feed

and asthmatic children who cannot talk as examples of symptoms that could potentially deteriorate.

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