RCN calls for urgent shake up of children’s unscheduled care

A set of standards including the need for 24/7 community children’s nursing services has been produced

General children’s services in hospitals should be supported by a 24 hours a day, seven days a week community children’s nursing service, according to a new set of standards.

Children make up more than a quarter of emergency department attendances in the UK, and their admissions to hospitals in England have increased by 28% in the past ten years.

The RCN, along with the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Paediatrics, are warning that an urgent shake up of children’s unscheduled care is needed or the growing demand will result in poorer child health outcomes in the UK.

Their Facing the Future: Together for Child Health set of 11 standards includes the need for the community children’s nursing service to provide advice and support to acute children’s services.

The standards come as the RCN and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health host their joint children’s health conference in Birmingham.

RCN general secretary Peter Carter said investment is urgently needed in community care services to provide more support.

Other standards include a link community children’s nurse for each local GP practice or group of practices, and a consultant paediatrician-led rapid-access service provided by acute general children’s services.

Dr Carter said: ‘There is no doubt that some episodes of acute illness could be safely and better managed without a visit to the emergency department or an admission to an inpatient ward.’

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