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Up to 75% of children and young people A&E admissions could be avoided

Up to 75% of children and young people A&E admissions could be avoided

Between 50% and 75% of children and young people Accident and Emergency (A&E) contacts could be avoided if ‘we had more comprehensive and joined Primary and Acute Care Systems (PACS), said a peer.
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Between 50% and 75% of children and young people Accident and Emergency (A&E) contacts could be avoided if ‘we had more comprehensive and joined Primary and Acute Care Systems (PACS), said a peer.

Speaking at the King’s Fund annual conference 2017, Dr Ingrid Wolfe, director of the Children and Young People’s Health Partnership (CYPHP), said that ‘children don’t hit the radar as they should’.

Children’s health ‘ignored’

She said: ‘I think one of the reasons why children's health generally doesn’t hit the headlines as much as it does for the frail and the elderly is because people think of children as healthy children.’

‘But because there is such a large number of them, it matters a lot at a population level to the way the country’s health system functions.’

In England and Wales, less than a third of children and young people deaths have avoidable features.

To improve children's and young people's health, Ms Wolfe suggests we should have more preventive measures, such as smoking cessation support for parents whose children have asthma or inhaler training in schools.

Waste of resources

One third of children under the age of one is admitted to the hospital, a lot of these being short stays and minor illness admissions.

Ms Wolfe said that ‘services should be tailored to health needs, in order to improve outcomes, based on a data-driven approach'.

She said: ‘A large portion of visits to A&E departments are deemed inappropriate.

‘This is an awful lot of resources being used that could be shifted into prevention and strengthening the determinants of health that we’re using at the acute end of the health service.

‘It’s also about mental health resilience training in schools. We have a lot of unhappiness and anxiety among children and young people and there is far too little emphasis on these issues.’

Ms Sarah-Jane Marsh, chief executive of the Birmingham woman’s and children’s Hospitals NHS Trust, said that ‘young people are the answers to most problems we face in the health service.’

She said: ‘We can’t possibly be in a situation where children aren’t on the agenda.

‘They might represent only 25% of the population but they are 100% of the future.’

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