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NHSE: GPs to ‘consider’ seeing all children under five with ‘respiratory symptoms’ F2F

NHSE: GPs to ‘consider’ seeing all children under five with ‘respiratory symptoms’ F2F

NHS England has told GPs they should ‘consider’ seeing all children under five with ‘respiratory symptoms’ face-to-face and referring them to secondary care.

Children with respiratory symptoms ‘should follow Government guidance’ but this ‘should not take precedence over clinical assessment’, it added in its latest GP bulletin.

The NHS England bulletin, sent to practices today, said this comes amid a ‘remarkable reduction’ in viral respiratory infections other than Covid over the last year.

This means an ‘increasing number’ of young children have ‘never been exposed’ to common viruses, which are having ‘unseasonable outbreaks’ as social distancing measures are relaxed, it added.

NHS England reiterated that Covid ‘tends to be a mild, self-limiting illness in children’ and said that ‘prolonged illness and/or severe symptoms should not be attributed to Covid-19 and should be evaluated as usual’. 

However, it added: ‘We are asking that all children under five with respiratory symptoms are considered for face-to-face consultations and referred to secondary care as appropriate. 

‘Whilst children with respiratory symptoms should follow government guidance, including on Covid-19 testing, this should not take precedence over clinical assessment.’

It comes as the JCVI is expected to issue updated advice on the potential rollout of the jab to children aged over 12 within ‘weeks’.

Meanwhile, NHS England has said that GP practices can ask walk-in patients to ‘wait outside’ if reception space is ‘constrained’.

The BMA last week warned that many GP practices are ‘not yet safe’ for walk-in patients due to unsuitable reception areas.

New NHS England guidance last month said GP patients must now be offered face-to-face appointments if that is their preference and receptions must be open for walk-ins.


Visit Pulse Reference for details on 140 symptoms, including easily searchable symptoms and categories, offering you a free platform to check symptoms and receive potential diagnoses during consultations.


Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Barry Moyse 8 June, 2021 4:11 pm

“NHS England has told GPs they should ‘consider’ seeing all children under five with ‘respiratory symptoms’ face-to-face and referring them to secondary care. “ Isn’t that the whole point of triage? To consider those things?

Reply moderated
Dr N 8 June, 2021 4:14 pm

NHSE should change its acronym to WTF.

Robert Caudwell 8 June, 2021 4:24 pm

Thanks for that NHSE. I was in danger of completely forgetting how to do my job for a minute there.

Michael Mullineux 8 June, 2021 4:32 pm

Another addition to the litany of utterly useless advice from NHSE.

Patrufini Duffy 8 June, 2021 4:36 pm

Akin to weaning addicts off their substance misuses. And the public from the GP. I suggest, NHSE stop talking for a while. It’s all sounding a bit personality disordered and weird. On their front.

Patrufini Duffy 8 June, 2021 4:45 pm

Btw. You know when NHSE says something, have you Never comes with a name…just a ghost sterile ivory robotic entity called NHSE.

Gerard Roberts 8 June, 2021 5:04 pm

So see or at least triage every child with an URTI?
Twice daily?

Mr Marvellous 8 June, 2021 6:24 pm

“Consider” seeing patients under 5.

Thanks NHS England.

Do you have an update on ursine arboreal defecation yet? I’m hoping for a bulletin and maybe even a powerpoint on the matter.

Patrufini Duffy 8 June, 2021 7:57 pm

Some would think UK citizens lived in a country with malaria, dengue, tuberculosis, polio and gross malnutrition and ebola. Kids walking around with no shoes. Nope, it’s nappy rash, viral cough, natural clinginess, a head that’s shaped fine – all over dettol-ed and Aveeno isn’t working anymore. Urgent same day. Which cannot be handled on a phone. ***I do think sometimes that GPs are an extension of the nanny, grandparents, and husband who all ran AWOL. A commitment for at least 2 years. Sad you weren’t invited to the wedding. I encouraging working for the rest of the world. Your skills are valuable elsewhere.

Neil Tallant 8 June, 2021 9:08 pm

Does anyone at NHSE have a Medical degree?
Has anyone at NHSE ever worked as a GP?
Has anyone at NHSE ever stepped into an GP surgery? If so would they step forward and please stuff the eggs that granny last sucked up the anal holes of those issuing such edicts.
NHSE, please engage neurone before hitting “Send”.

Turn out The Lights 8 June, 2021 9:47 pm

Pretty pointless doing a respiratory exam and review through a child’s clothes as the picture shows,you are unlikely to see or hear anything of any use.Also children deteriorate very quickly if they are going to,so what starts off as an exam for a cold in a very short time can be a very flat or ill child,after being seen.There is a lack of self management so that we generally see patient very early in an illness now,patients and their relative rarely do any self management anymore.Not even the use of paracetamol or ibuprofen for a temperature.They are more likely to demand a FTf with the nanny states slave professional to take their responsibility away from them.Will be interesting what happens when we are gone.

C P 9 June, 2021 8:44 am

What’s next…. GPs should offer all patients face to face appts all of the time but make sure to send their private data to us to check.
Oh wait to deja vu

David Church 9 June, 2021 6:50 pm

ToTL: best way to listen to a wary small child’s chest is to first put the stethoscope on mum’s trousered knee, then maybe slip it across, on the same level, to listen to the child’s arm, through it’s jumper, then, if you are doing ok, listen tp the clothed chest, making interestung noises, and finaly, say, well, I think I can hear it, but it’s very quiet, can we just slip this up under your shirt now, so I can hear better?

and, erm, if Mr NHSE could perhaps be assessed under the Mental Health Act?
brian illness – check; risk to self – check, rosk tp pthers – definitely
Section papers anynoe?

Decorum Est 9 June, 2021 11:17 pm

…you lost me there at ‘mum’s trousered knee’……and ‘maybe slip it across’……

Mitch Blair 13 July, 2021 9:52 am

See and support – you do already ! use of suitable approved leaflets helps increase confidence in worried parents during the pandemic – stick it up on your website and ask your receptionists to signpost parents