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Trusts are urged to put GPs in A&E

Trusts should recruit GPs to work in A&E departments because of high numbers of children attending with minor ailments, researchers suggest.

An audit of children under 16 years of age attending an A&E department found most were suitable for GP care. Of 598 children, only 40 per cent needed treatment that could only be provided in A&E.

Dr Nathan Hasson, now a consultant paediatrician at Great Ormond St Hospital in London, carried out the study at Ealing Hospital, Middlesex.

He said the large ethnic minority population in the area were not used to visiting GPs for child health problems and preferred to seek help from the hospital.

'Some parents think that if their children are sick they should go to hospital. And they weren't confident that their GPs had had enough training in paediatrics,' he said.

The solution was to provide GP care at the point where patients were choosing to access it, he said.

Dr Graham Archard, chair of the RCGP's clinical network, said: 'The RCGP does not want to discourage people from normal attendance at their GP surgery when they are presenting with symptoms appropriate to GP care.

'Encouraging people to use A&E departments may adversely affect continuity of care and people could see it as an alternative to visiting their GP,' he added.

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