RCPCH responds to Welsh inquiry into winter preparedness

Responding to the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee inquiry into winter preparedness, Dr Mair Parry, Officer for Wales for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:

“It is no surprise that every year the health service faces increased pressure over the winter months. And every year services put emergency plans in place in order to manage the increase in demand. Whilst emergency planning has been keeping services running, we know as clinicians that this simply isn’t sustainable in the long term.

"That’s why it is encouraging to see the publication today of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee’s report on the inquiry into winter preparedness.

“For children, the majority become ill in winter because there’s a lot of colds and viruses around and often families see the hospital as the ‘go-to’ for all health complaints. As a consultant paediatrician in Bangor, I see vast numbers of patients in our department who really don’t need to be there. The majority of illnesses are minor, requiring little or no medical intervention and a significant number of these attendances are unnecessary. Bangor won’t be in isolation. Hospitals right across Wales will face the same problem.

“The bottom line is that more care needs to be delivered in the community by GPs, pharmacists and urgent care centres. That’s why we are particularly keen for Welsh Government to give consideration, as a matter of urgency, to joint working across health sectors to ensure patients receive the right care at the right time by the right healthcare professional. In conjunction with this, these services need to be better communicated to families, preventing them arriving unnecessarily at hospital in the first place.

“Welsh Government has an opportunity to break this cycle. I urge them to follow the recommendations set out within this document to help relieve pressure on services in future.”

To view the report visit the Welsh Assembly's website.