The Review of Children’s Emergency Services at County Hospital by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health was published yesterday. It agrees with the report last year that the Children’s Emergency Centre (CEC) was not working safely and supports the Trust’s decision to suspend the service last September.
It recommends that the Children’s Emergency Centre is not reinstated and that the Children’s Minor Injuries Unit (CMIU) remains operational alongside the Emergency Department (A&E) in the short-term. It says that nursing cover must be strengthened and that all clinical staff must have appropriate, up-to-date paediatric resuscitation skills.
It also recommends that the out-of-hours GP service is promoted and strengthened to support the CMIU.
Stafford’s MP, Jeremy Lefroy, commented: “The CEC was a recommendation by the Trust Special Administrators when Stafford (now County) Hospital was merged with Royal Stoke. It was appreciated by my constituents. It therefore came as a shock when it was said not to be working safely by inspectors last year. The Children’s Minor Injury Unit which was then set up after a short interval has provided a good service, although not able to see all the children whom the CEC saw.
“Today’s Review keeps the CMIU in place, with additional staffing requirements, and a call for the strengthening of GP out of hours’ services.
“I urged the Royal College and Trust to find a way to restore the CEC as envisaged by the Trust Special Administrators. But they have not been able to find a way to do this safely. For me, the safety of children is paramount so I accept the findings of the experts that maintaining the CMIU is the only short-term solution.
“As for the longer-term model, the Royal College recommends an urgent care centre for all at County Hospital which would work together with County’s A&E (for over 16 year olds). This would manage minor injury and minor illness in children. There would be clear and rapid pathways to handle major children’s major injury and illness.
“I and my constituents will wish to understand more about what is proposed and how it would work for the children of Stafford and the surrounding area. It will require a proper consultation as it is a change from the current model.
“I will also be raising with the Department of Health how a care model (the CEC) which was proposed by the TSA and approved by the Department and the Royal Colleges only three years ago can now be considered unworkable.
“The announcement last week that there is no intention of removing County’s A&E was welcome. But what we need now in Stafford is a long-term commitment to a stable system of emergency and urgent care, delivered as close to home as possible and 24/7, for both adults and children.”