Winter pressures and Paediatric Emergency Medicine – sharing solutions and best practice: meeting recording

On 28 September 2022, RCPCH hosted a meeting to address concerns regarding increased clinical pressures in UK Paediatric Emergency Departments ahead of winter and to share and discuss some potential solutions. Watch presentations from the meeting and an anonymised Q&A.

The meeting was convened by the RCPCH Intercollegiate Committee for Standards for Children and Young People in Emergency Care Settings and the Association of Paediatric Emergency Medicine and led by the Intercollegiate Committee chair, Dr Scott Hendry.

Below is a summary of the key points covered.

Infection control and COVID-19 measures

Dr Damian Roland, Paediatric Emergency Consultant in Leicester, talked about how his Emergency Department has moved away from separating children into hot and cold areas. He signposted the RCPCH National guidance for the management of children in hospital with viral respiratory tract infections (2022) and a paper outlining an evaluation of the incidence of COVID infection in his department, which both support this move. Dr Roland also mentioned his department’s practice around point of care testing for respiratory viruses.

Redirection and navigation

Dr David James, Paediatric Emergency Consultant in Southampton, gave a brief overview of the issues and potential solutions in relation to redirection and navigation, referring to a useful document from NHS England, Guidance for Emergency Departments: initial assessment. Dr James also talked about Healthier Together, a website developed in Wessex that provides health advice for parents and young people. There is also an app that categorises children’s symptoms into red, amber or green, provides advice on the action parents/carers should take and can link with the child's GP practice.  

Mental health

Dr Scott Hendry, Paediatric Emergency Consultant in Glasgow, outlined the whole system approach in his area in which they work closely with CAMHS, have an ED CAMHS lead, hold regular MDT meetings and share clinical pathways and protocols. He mentioned other mental health services and initiatives that are in place in local schools, primary and community care. You can see the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde unscheduled CAMHS referral flowchart.

Exit block and patient flow

Dr Steve Foster, Paediatric Emergency Consultant in Glasgow, talked about the issues that contribute to exit block in children’s emergency departments. He discussed how his department had looked at the potential barriers to seamless patient flow and some of the actions that they are taking to address those barriers, and suggested further solutions.

Thank you to all those who contributed to and attended the meeting.

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