The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has joined forces with the British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM – part of the RCPCH), the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) to produce a 'fridge poster', which signposts when and where parents should seek help for babies aged three months and under.
Over the summer, paediatricians reported that a small number of children may have become seriously ill because of delays in accessing health services. Health professionals are concerned that such delays could happen again this winter as some paediatricians are reporting seeing far fewer children than they would have expected.
Parents may not know they are still able to have face-to-face consultations, may find it difficult to get an appointment quickly when worried, or may be concerned about COVID transmission. Added to this, new parents in some parts of the country have not had the usual access to health visitors (many of whom were redeployed into other roles during the pandemic), and lockdowns have meant some have not been able to see their extended families, friends and other parents.
There are four posters - one for each of the four UK nations - that signposts parents to the appropriate health services or reassures them, on the basis of the symptoms their new baby is experiencing. They can be downloaded below.
Dr Helen Mactier, President of BAPM (a Specialty Group of the RCPCH) and a Consultant Neonatologist at Princess Royal Maternity, Glasgow, said:
Being a new parent can be daunting at any time, but having a new baby during a pandemic can throw up a lot of additional challenges for many families – even more so under lockdown.
Many parents haven’t had the usual access to routine face-to-face appointments with a healthcare professional or been able to discuss a change in their baby’s appearance or behaviour with other new parents or their own friends and family. That can be really worrying.
We want to let parents know what should or shouldn’t be of concern with regard to their baby’s health, and to put their minds at rest that the NHS is here for them if their baby is unwell.
See our advice posters or download below.