A dedicated children’s A&E – the first of its kind in Huddersfield and Calderdale – will be built as part of a hospital shake-up plan.
But the unit will be built at Calderdale Royal Hospital (CRH) as part of a proposal to turn the Halifax hospital into a specialist emergency care centre.
The ‘paediatric emergency centre’ has been revealed in ‘Have Your Say’, a document released in anticipation of a public consultation on the Right Care Right Time Right Place (RCRTRP) plan.
Under RCRTRP, Huddersfield Royal Infirmary will be demolished and replaced with a smaller, planned care hospital without full emergency services.
Currently sick children are sent to CRH but are transferred to HRI if they need surgery.
This also means that paediatricians and other child care specialists have to travel been the two sites.
But under RCRTRP all emergency children’s care – and related services – will be concentrated at CRH.
The document says: “Overall, there would be a marked improvement in services for children with the development of the paediatric emergency centre, which would mean children being seen straightaway by a specialist.
“For the first time these services would comply with the recommendations of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the national guidance for children and young people in emergency settings.”
Health chiefs have admitted that patients from Huddersfield will have further to travel.
But they say the advantages of a dedicated children’s emergency centre will outweigh concerns.
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The document says: “We believe that the benefits of the child being in a hospital where all specialised services were available on the same site (i.e .in the paediatric emergency centre at CRH) would outweigh the inconvenience of the additional travelling, and would remove the need to transfer sick children between sites as happens now.”
If RCRTRP goes ahead, parents will be advised to dial NHS 111 for guidance on where to send their child.
The document says: “NHS 111 would be able to make arrangements for children, of any age, to have an appointment to attend one of the two urgent care centres.
“Or if NHS 111 thinks the child needs emergency care, arrangements would be made for an ambulance to take the child/patient and their parent/carer to the paediatric emergency centre at CRH.”
NHS 111 and Yorkshire Ambulance Service will be ‘refreshed’ to cope with the potential increase in demand for their services.
The document says: “Protocols in place for NHS 111 and the ambulance service would be refreshed to make sure that any children with injury or illness requiring emergency care were directed to the paediatric emergency centre.”
A large proportion of non-emergency children’s services will be transferred to local clinics and GP surgeries, as part of RCRTRP which also aims to move services ‘closer to home’.