Children's Charity Calls For Triage Nurses In GP Surgeries Following Care Survey

Action For Sick Children's Report Reveals Majority Of Parents And Carers Simply Want Advice And Reassurance From Their Visit To The Doctor
Alistair Macdonald
Alistair Macdonald
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STOCKPORT, England - June 18, 2013 - PRLog -- HIGHLY trained ‘Triage’ Nurses based at every GP’s surgery to break the bottleneck facing patients who take part in the family doctors’ appointments “lottery” is just one recommendation from children’s charity Action for Sick Children following a nationwide first-contact care survey.

The triage nurses could quickly evaluate each patient’s medical needs – by telephone or face to face - before referring them to a doctor or member of the nursing team, explained Alistair Macdonald, chairman of the charity’s survey committee which analysed the results of the survey.

“The survey’s most clear finding was that family doctors are the most frequently used, most understood and most trusted source of advice for parents and carers, who are driven by perceived expertise, competency and professional skill,” added Mr Macdonald, speaking from the charity’s Stockport HQ.

“However, although family doctors are at the heart of parents’ health service requirement, they complain that appointments are difficult to get. It’s not necessarily extended hours that are needed, it’s convenience. The commonly found  8.30 am “lottery” system of phoning-in is thought to be inflexible and offers no guarantee that the call will produce a same-day appointment.

“Appointments are restricted to ‘same-day’ or ‘non-urgent’ which can be in two-weeks time rather than a few days hence.

“Although our survey clearly pointed out that GPs are the first port of call for parents and carers of sick children, it also revealed that 67 per cent of them simply wanted advice for treating their child’s condition at home, 65 per cent wanted a diagnosis, and 60 per cent wanted general reassurance.”

And Mr Macdonald is convinced Triage nurses could meet those patient demands by evaluating their needs and directing them to the most appropriate source of help, thus reducing pressure on both GPs and A&E departments.

Also by giving community nurses, health visitors and  children’s nurses an enhanced role, they could provide patients and parents and carers of sick children with the advice and reassurance that most are seeking, leaving doctors and hospital staff free to deal with the more urgent cases.

“It is clear that some of these health professionals are woefully under-used,” added Mr Macdonald. “Giving them better training and an enhanced role would take a huge amount of pressure off our GPs and hospital emergency departments. Both are buckling under the strain and this needs to be put right – fast!

“I’m sure family doctors and A&E departments will welcome Action for Sick Children’s survey. We have just come through a hugely expensive re-boot of the health service but these fundamentals have been completely overlooked.”

“This research clearly explains why we have  pressure on GP’s surgeries and A&E departments,” said Action for Sick Children’s chairman Pamela Barnes, who commissioned  ICM Research to conduct the survey which involved 2,000 parents/guardians of children aged up to 11 years from across England and Northern Ireland.

“The NHS is undergoing great change at the moment and there has been an on-going debate about the best way forward. We’ve seen the newspaper headlines. We’ve heard the politicians talking about the issues and we’ve had comments from the medical professionals. Now we felt that it was time to hear the views of the end users – the parents and guardians of sick children.

“That is why we commissioned our survey – to give parents and carers a voice in the on-going debate. After all, Action for Sick Children has been a vigilant ‘watchdog’ for children and young people’s health services for more than 50 years,” added Mrs. Bar nes who pointed out the charity’s pivotal role in the successful campaign to allow parents to stay with their sick children in hospitals.

“Another point that came across strongly from our survey was the fact that parents do not want to be patronized. They want to be listened to as the person who knows their child best.”

The findings of the survey were officially released at an event at the House of Commons when MPs and health professionals will be amongst the guests.

To download a copy of the Action for Sick Children survey click onto:

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