Rebuilding GP system with focus on child health could save lives and avert A&E crisis

  • 03/06/2013

MEDIA RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday 3rd June 2013

Rebuilding GP system with focus on child health could save lives and avert A&E crisis

In a  report published today, leading children's charity the National Children's Bureau is calling on Government to ensure GP reforms put children's health first by providing better paediatric expertise in GP practices and opening hours that meet the needs of working parents and their children. These measures could help reduce avoidable child deaths and relieve the increasing burden on A&E services.

'Opening the door to better healthcare' highlights  evidence that  young people have a poorer experience of GP services than adults and that parents are turning to A & E and hospital specialists because they feel GPs cannot meet their child's needs. While better GP training could help reduce the UK's poor record on child mortality and the number of avoidable deaths where a GP was involved in the child's care, less than half of trainee GPs have had in-hospital paediatric training. The Government is yet to confirm funding for GPs' own proposals for extended training that would help to address this.

Even where families want to put their trust in their local GP practice, they are seldom available at the hours that busy families require, encouraging them to go to A & E instead. Attendance at A&E by under 16-year olds has risen 35% in the last five years, placing considerable burden on services that should only be accessed for emergency care.

Enver Solomon, Director of Evidence and Impact at NCB, said: 'GPs want to provide the best possible care for their patients, but the way these services are configured and commissioned means young patients are not getting the health service they are entitled to. We are calling on the government to rebuild GP services from the ground up with a focus on the needs of the child. This must start with confirmation of funding for extended GP training, but also look urgently at providing a GP service  at evenings and weekends, and ensure the current patient survey, used to hold GPs to account, takes into account the views of children and young people themselves.'

'Opening the door to better healthcare' is available from http://www.ncb.org.uk/policy-evidence/policy/thematic-policy-reports

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For more information please contact the National Children's Bureau's media office on 0207 843 6045 / 47 or email media@ncb.org.uk. For urgent enquiries out of office hours call 07721 097 033.

Notes to editors

About the National Children's Bureau
The National Children's Bureau (NCB) is a leading charity that for 50 years has been improving the lives of children and young people, especially the most vulnerable. We work with children and for children, to influence government policy, be a strong voice for young people and practitioners, and provide creative solutions on a range of social issues. For more information visit www.ncb.org.uk