Dr Hilary Cass: We must ensure paediatric units provide the right service for children

 

Share
Related Topics

Children, like all patients, are entitled to the best medical care when they fall ill. As a children's doctor, I want and expect all children to be seen quickly and assessed properly, and I know every parent wants their child to be treated by doctors and nurses who have expertise in specific conditions.

The way that children's hospital services are currently arranged means that we're in danger of not providing children with the highest possible standard of healthcare. At the moment there are a large number of small units providing general care, but too few providing specialist services, meaning that not all children get the best specialist treatment.

That's why the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health has set 10 minimum standards that all paediatric units should meet in order to provide the best healthcare for children. In some cases this means some services have to close and others merge to form larger, specialist units. Fewer, larger specialist paediatric units would have the best medical equipment and the best doctors who have been highly trained to specialise in specific children's medical conditions.

There may be hard decisions for doctors, managers, planners and local people when they have to decide a local service needs to close, but it's crucial to have the right service, even if it is further away, than the wrong service situated on your doorstep.

These kinds of decisions have now been made for children's heart services across England and Wales. The Safe and Sustainable review, which looks at the best options for delivering high quality care for children with congenital heart disease, has had to decide which centres currently providing children's heart surgery will become children's cardiology centres. The aim is to ensure children receive high standards of expert ongoing care closer to home, and those children who need an operation, receive care from a larger dedicated surgical team specialising in their condition.

Having fewer specialist centres would mean that everyone involved in a child's healthcare (from their GP and clinicians at their local hospital to the surgeons and cardiologists at the surgical centre) communicates with one another efficiently so the child's treatment is better co-ordinated. It will also mean that families receive appropriate advice and support from other clinical experts.

I understand that some parents will have concerns about sometimes travelling that extra distance for surgery, but I am confident that these changes will greatly improve healthcare for patients because children will be assessed and treated quickly by specialist doctors. The decisions that have been made today will ultimately save lives by ensuring children with congenital heart disease and those born in future years benefit from better healthcare.

Dr Hilary Cass is President of The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Ed Miliband created a crisis of confidence about himself within Labour when he forgot to mention the deficit in his party conference speech  

The political parties aren't all the same – which means 2015 will be a 'big-choice' election

Andrew Grice
 

Beware of the jovial buffoon who picks fights overseas

Boyd Tonkin
Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect