Surge in parents taking kids with common medical problems to emergency care

May 23, 2011

The number of children taken to emergency care departments with common medical problems has risen sharply over the past decade, reveals a study published online in Emergency Medicine Journal.

During the past 10 years, the way that the NHS provides care at night and at weekends for common medical problems has changed.

The family doctor is no longer responsible for providing that care and advice to worried parents, with large private companies now generally contracted to provide this instead.

Researchers looked at the medical records of children under the age of 15 who had attended the emergency department at Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham between February 2007 and February 2008. These findings were compared with information about attendees a decade earlier.

During the 10 years, the number of patients attending the children's emergency department had remained similar, but the number attending with common medical problems had risen by 42%.

A total of 39,394 children were seen in 2007-8 of whom 14,724 had medical problems. This compared with 38,982 children seen overall in 1997 of whom 10,369 had medical problems .

Ten common accounted for 85% of the most visits, including breathing difficulty, fever, with or without vomiting, rash and cough.

The proportions of patients attending for each of these conditions were similar in 1997 and 2007-8, except for .

"Over a 10-year period, attendances to the paediatric have remained similar; however, there has been a disproportionate rise in the number attending with medical conditions. The presenting problems also remain similar, although there has been a significant reduction in those presenting with difficulty in breathing," write the authors.

"Care pathways focusing on this limited range of high-volume presenting problems will make the maximum impact on improving quality and value of care for children," they add.

Explore further: Most children with head injuries are seen in hospitals not equipped to treat them

Related Stories

Most children with head injuries are seen in hospitals not equipped to treat them

May 23, 2011
More than four fifths of children who turn up at emergency departments with head injuries in the UK are seen in hospitals which would have to transfer them if the injury was serious, reveals a study published online in Emergency ...

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.