A senior Cumbrian doctor urges parents to take their children to the hospital if they are unwell during a coronavirus outbreak.
Dr Katarina Berankova, clinical director and consultant pediatrician at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust urges parents not to stay away from hospitals during a cornavirus outbreak, if they feel their child needs urgent medical attention.
Dr Berankova said fewer children were taken to two hospitals under trust – Cumberland Hospital in Carlisle and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven – and he was concerned this was caused by fears of exposure to the coronavirus virus, or the belief that hospital services were too busy to deal with more patients.
“Health services are still open and if you are worried about your child, you need to seek medical help,” he said.
“You can still contact your GP operation, check 111 online or if your child is very unwell, call 999 to arrange an urgent review.”
Dr Berankova, who works at Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, added that other factors could also be the cause of fewer children being taken to hospital:
“We will usually see a reduction in acute acceptance during the Easter holidays.
“It is very likely that this reduction is also due to the recent closure of schools in addition to warmer weather which generally helps reduce the spread of viral infections among children.
“This – mostly fever and upper or lower respiratory symptoms – is the most common reason children are referred to child care.
“Even within the current limitations in acute care, all possible channels for patients must remain open to access health care for patients who need urgent / acute assessment. If you are worried, ask for help. ”
The (RCPCH) said concerns were being raised about the delay in presentation among children with non-Covid-related illnesses.
Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said he was concerned about the reports of a small number of recent cases in which children became very unwell, or even died, because they had not been seen early enough by medical personnel.
“During the COVID-19 crisis, parents and carers across the country did the right thing by looking after children with minor illnesses at home and, on behalf of the NHS staff, we really want to thank them for their help,” he said.
“We have recently heard reports of a small but alarming number of cases where children might become very unwell or even die because they did not look early enough.
“There may be a number of reasons for this and we are trying to find out more but our message to parents is clear: if your child is very unwell, we want to see it – we don’t want parents to wait or to worry.
“If parents are worried and cannot call, we want them to contact their doctor or, if very worried, to go to the local emergency care center or to A&E. The hospital has steps to protect people from Covid-19.
“We have conveyed our concerns to the health departments in all four countries and we are working with them to ensure that sick children receive appropriate care when they need it.”
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