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Coronavirus Fear – A cause of death for children?


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UPDATED

04 MAY 2020


According to eminent paediatricians in the country, children may have succumbed to non-coronavirus health issues because they are late in visiting hospitals for treatment amidst growing concerns that NHS 111 may be offering wrong advice that they should stay at home.  

HSJ understands gravity of the issue that the NHS 111 is giving wrong advice to parents and the concerns have already caught attention of the national leaders.

Many senior paediatricians in London have already informed HSJ about their concerns regarding the matter. According to them, many of these children, who were admitted to the Intensive Care in London, sustained harm and some of them even succumbed to it. However, the paediatric leaders were unwilling to disclose the identity of those cases or hospitals. The sources called it a national issue.

According to a senior source at a children’s hospital, “Some non-Covid-19 children suffered harm due to the prevailing situation….it necessitates some changes to 111 for children.” The source called it “collateral damage” from the on-going health crisis.

NHS 111 uses triaging software - NHS Pathways - run by NHS digital that says no changes have been made to the Pathways algorithm and as a result, people will receive advice not to travel to the hospital if it is the right option for their symptoms.
The commissioning of NHS 111 is managed by NHS England that, on Saturday, said, “Parents and patients should visit hospital only for urgent and essential care”.

Russell Viner, who is the President of Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, told the HSJ, “Reports are coming that children’s condition worsened and some even died because they did not receive treatment early on. Though the number of such cases is small but the incident is definitely worrying”.

“Several reasons have led to the situation and we’re on our way to find out more. However, we want to tell it clearly to parents that we’re always there to treat your child if he/she is seriously ill. We don’t want you to worry or wait”.
“If the concerned parents fail to contact on the phone, we urge them to contact their FP. The worried parents should make an emergency visit to accident and emergency hospitals or a local urgent care centre. Hospitals have adequate measures to help people stay protected from coronavirus.”

Yesterday, a message that went viral on social media and Mumsnet reads, “I work in a Paediatric Intensive Care Unit in London. Four children have died in the last 48 hours and two critically ill children are in a very precarious condition.”

“None of these is a COVID-19 case and all six children could have been saved only if were they brought to hospital at the right time.”

“The reason of such a calamity is 111 advised the parents to stay away at their home as hospitals are not safe for a visit amidst Covid-19 crisis. Our consultants are to hold an immediate meeting with Public Health England for a change in the advice.”

“If your child has an existing but manageable illness, listen to your parental instincts instead of blindly following the advice. The worried parents should take their children to A&E immediately.”

“Hospitals are safer than your child’s condition. Only those in genuine need are presented to A&E and that’s why, it’s very quiet.”
Many paediatric sources in London have seen the message and said they share the same concerns.

“The NHS is making all efforts to deal with the biggest pandemic in a century while making sure that people of all ages can easily access the healthcare services as safely as possible.”

“We’ve capacity across the country to treat everyone in need right at the time. We want to make it clear parents and patients should come forward whenever they need immediate and essential care.”

 

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