Out Of Hours GP Cover Puts Children At Risk

Children are being put at risk by an over reliance on out of hours telephone consultations and assessments by inexperienced staff, according to an article in the British Medical Journal.

Most GP surgeries no longer provide evening or weekend care under arrangements introduced in 2004.  This has led to patients relying on NHS Direct telephone consultations or out of hours centres and hospital accident and emergency departments.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, Dr Anthony Harden, a lecturer in General Practice at Oxford University, reports that children with fevers are not being properly assessed.  He states that research had found that as many as half of children with meningococcal disease had been sent home after their initial consultation.

Dr Harden stresses that children with fevers need a global assessment by an experienced practitioner, and that the present arrangements meant that children were being assessed over the telephone or by doctors and even nurses with varying experience and skill.

Dr Harden says that parents should be offered greater opportunities to have their child undergo a prompt clinical assessment.

If you or a member of your family  have been affected by this or a similar problem, we may be able to help.  Telephone 0800 321 3112 to speak to one of our nurse advisors.

Posted 31st August 2007 | Posted in News,Uncategorised