Monday, 29 April 2013

Good news!

Here’s a good news item I missed, from the Elmbridge Guardian, 29th January 2013;  


A new paediatric assessment unit (PAU) for children who may need urgent hospital treatment has opened at St Peter’s Hospital.

Children needing urgent care had previously had to wait in the hospital’s accident and emergency for assessment before being discharged or admitted to a ward. The new four-bedded PAU will allow people up to the age of 18 to be observed, assessed or treated before admission or discharge.

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the unit will be staffed by nurses and doctors who specialise in children’s care and supervised directly by a paediatric consultant.

The unit will admit children with medical problems directly from A&E.

Dr Julie-Anne Dowie, head of nursing for paediatrics, said: “I know how frightening it can be for young children and their parents or carers having to come to hospital in an emergency.

“This new assessment unit will allow us to care for children in the most appropriate place while we make decisions about what to do next.”


I could be really cynical and make nasty comments about fiddling A and E waiting time statistics but that would be wrong. It’s not about that. This is a really big deal and will radically improve things for young people.

Dealing with the young is a very specialised area. But more than that it’s no fun being in A and E, sometimes it’s like a warzone. Myself, I spent 5 hours on a drip, waiting for a bed before I was moved to a corridor in a ward.

There’s no privacy and I had to listen to a variety of private conversations. Luckily, I spent 25 years representing vulnerable, mentally ill or suicidal people, so it wasn’t a problem for me to listen to the assessment of someone who had taken an overdose. I wouldn’t want a youngster to go through that.

So this is a really good, humane use of precious resources and when people do something right I should be saying so.

How about some more specialised assessment units – the elderly, those with learning difficulties?

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)


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