London Ambulance Service (LAS) has not taken children by emergency ambulance to King George Hospital A&E since November 2010.
Patients need to be taken to the setting that will provide them with the best care and the best outcomes. This won’t always be to the nearest hospital. This principle has saved hundreds of lives in recent years for stroke and heart attack patients in London alone.
With a dedicated ‘high dependency’ suite for children at Queen’s Hospital, improving care for those who need more intensive nursing and medical input, it was agreed that children who were acutely unwell should be taken directly to that service. This ensures that children with complex and high dependency needs receive the appropriate care as quickly as possible and prevents any delays in care from transfer between sites.
This decision taken by LAS was agreed by the Trust and shared with the local councils’ Health Overview and Scrutiny committees and commissioners.
BHRUT are clearly saying the change was due to a high dependency suite at Queens hospital.
Well done to the Wanstead and Woodford Guardian for printing the story here today at
stating the real reasons as
- A lack of clinical leadership within children's services
- Compliance with the Children's National Service Framework, a department of health programme for the health of children, being patchy
- Paediatricians being overworked and also being required to work in the neo-natal unit
- A highly-complex and poorly managed staff rota
- Inadequate medical staff assigned to the medical rotas
- Gaps in the staff rota
- Assessment by a senior doctor was not always possible
BHRUT say the LAS or London Ambulance Service decided not to take Children to King George Hospital.
But London Ambulance Service say the decision was made by BHRUT per the email received by me on 10th June.
Dear Mr Walker
Thank you for your email which has been forwarded to the Patient Experiences Department by our Chief Executive. I apologise for the delay in responding.
I have been advised that the BHRUT document "Strategy for Change - Children's Services" (July 2010) highlighted a number of concerns and shortfalls in the paediatric service across both the Queens and King George’s sites and as a result of this, the Trust wanted to cohort sicker and more complex patients on one site (Queens). This included patients needing anything more than 24 hours of care.
In discussing this with the LAS, we were asked whether crews could identify patients with more complex needs or who might need to be admitted for more than 24 hours, and convey these patients to Queens.
The Trust felt that this would be unreasonable given the difficulty of making an accurate assessment in a short time, and the potential that children have for deteriorating rapidly. Getting the initial assessment wrong could potentially place crews / the LAS at risk.
It was agreed with BHRUT that we would convey all children presenting through the 999 service to Queens, and that we would only convey children to King George’s if they had been referred by a GP and specifically accepted by the paediatricians.
This decision was reviewed and upheld in a number of meetings in the year that followed. my underlining ENDS
I will be asking Cllr Streeting, the Redbridge Council spokesperson for health to look into this.
The secret 2010 decision to stop children going to KGH A&E was the wrong one, and along with the related 2010 decision to cut child beds at KGH has been a factor in the child bed shortage which means children wait longer at A&E than they need to. What should have happened in 2010 is that KGH was given the resources to look after children properly on the KGH site. Why should Redbridge parents have to put up with a second rate service for their children?