Child health experts from the RCGP are calling for GPs to get immediate advice over the telephone from a paediatrician, as part of a range of measures to overhaul children’s unscheduled care services.
The college, along with the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Royal College of Nursing, also wants to see a consultant paediatrician and a community children’s nurse linked up with every GP practice, or group of practices.
Among other recommendations, outlined in a new report Facing the future: Together for Child Health, the Colleges say any child should be seen within 24 hours of being referred to a paediatrician-led rapid-access service.
The experts warn that child health outcomes in the UK will suffer without the shake-up, with children already making up more than a quarter of A&E attendances in the UK – and a 28% rise in the number of children admitted to hospital in England over the past 10 years.
Dr Maureen Baker, RCGP chair, said: ‘Our young patients and their families can’t plan when they will be poorly so it is crucial that they have access to high quality services in the community whenever they need them.’
She added: ‘These standards mark a coming together of professional expertise from across the health service. They will help to break down barriers and encourage us all to work together more closely in the best interests of our young patients.’