Residents in Pembrokeshire are being asked to look out for a leaflet about children’s hospital services, which will be delivered to households from next week (week commencing 25 October 2021).
The leaflet will explain why temporary changes to re-locate the children’s daytime unit (PACU/Puffin Ward) and its specialist staff from Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest, to Glangwili Hospital, Carmarthen, have been extended into 2022. It will also provide information on how to access the right care for a child when they are unwell.
Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive of Hywel Dda University Health Board Dr Philip Kloer said: “We hope the leaflet will be a useful, quick guide for parents and carers to keep handy in the home. We know that making decisions when a child is sick or injured can be stressful and we hope this guide will help.
“It includes a QR code which will take you to our dedicated web resource on children’s services, where there are also alternative versions of the leaflet and contact details for people who wish to share their experience of care.”
The temporary move of the service was made in spring 2020 due to the need for space within the hospital to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been extended due to the continuation of the pandemic and also to ensure that the increasing number of children with respiratory illnesses access specialist care when needed.
It means that Withybush Hospital currently treats only children with minor injuries such as minor wounds, minor burns or scalds, insect bites, potential broken bones if not badly misshaped, minor head or face injuries, or foreign bodies in the nose or ear; and booked outpatient appointments.
Children with serious illnesses or injuries are treated at Glangwili Hospital where there is a co-located Emergency Department and children’s hospital services, including an overnight children’s ward, children’s high dependency unit and children’s daytime (ambulatory) care.
Multi-professional clinicians, including local senior doctors in children’s care (paediatrics), emergency medicine, and anaesthetics, have supported the recommendation and the need for clearer messaging to the public in order to reduce the risk of delays in the treatment of children and young people.
Clinical Director for Women & Children’s services, Dr Prem Kumar Pitchaikani said: “We need to avoid the delay that may be caused when a child is brought to Withybush Emergency Department only to need a transfer to Glangwili Hospital. The continuation of this temporary service change, will ensure that very ill children, including the increasing number of children likely to have respiratory viruses this winter, will get access to their definitive treatment more quickly. They can also be monitored and treated quickly by specialists in the event that they deteriorate.”
Clinical Director for Emergency Medicine, and senior consultant at Withybush Hospital Emergency and Urgent Care Centre Dr Nicola Drake said: “It is critically important that sick children have the support of specialist paediatricians at the earliest opportunity. They also need early access to specialised equipment that is provided and monitored by paediatricians.”
The intention is to continue with the temporary position and commence a review in March 2022, with a report back to the Health Board in autumn 2022. The review will be scrutinised by the Health Board and Hywel Dda Community Heath Council and will include measuring outcomes for children and young people, as well as patient experiences and the views of communities.
More information on how and when the access children’s healthcare services locally are available here (opens in new tab).
If you have an experience of children’s services you wish to share with us, please search the website for ‘patient survey’ or ‘complaints’; email: email@example.com; or telephone: 0300 0200 159.
We will engage with our communities about the future of children’s services in 2022, but if you want to share your views at this point please; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; write to: FREEPOST HYWEL DDA HEALTH BOARD (you will not need a stamp); call: 01554 899 056 (this telephone number is not staffed, but messages will be recorded).
*Please note these changes affect children’s services at Withybush Hospital only and adult services at the hospital remain the same. Paediatric services at Bronglais Hospital, Aberystwyth, remain the same. There is no change to Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli.
Where to get help if my child is unwell?
Call 999 if your child has serious injuries or a life-threatening illness, including severe difficulty or irregular breathing, blueness around the lips, is pale, mottled and abnormally cold, has a fit or seizure, is extremely distressed, is very lethargic or unresponsive, develops a rash that does not disappear with pressure, or has testicular pain.
Go to a Minor Injury Unit (24/7 at Withybush Hospital; weekdays, daytime only and for children over 12-months at Tenby Hospital and Cardigan Integrated Care Centre) if your child has minor wounds, minor burns or scalds, insect bites, potential broken bones if not badly misshaped, minor head or face injuries, or foreign bodies in the nose or ear.
Contact your GP today if your child has an illness that won’t go away, indicated for example by a high temperature, shivering, muscle pain, cough, wheezing, increased effort to breath, persistent vomiting/diarrhoea/severe tummy pain, blood in their poo or wee, or dehydration. Call NHS 111 Wales (24/7) for urgent advice if you are unsure what to do. Call 111 for urgent help when your usual GP surgery, or other primary care service, is closed.
*You may be asked to take your child to Glangwili Hospital Emergency Department if input from specialist children’s doctors is required.
Treat at home or contact your pharmacist if your child has a minor illness or ailment such as a sore throat, cough, skin irritation, or if a young person needs emergency contraception. You can get help online by searching ‘NHS 111 Wales symptom checker’. Some pharmacies offer treatment without appointment for low level injuries.
If you are deaf or speech-impaired you can access 999 services using the Relay UK app and dialling 999, or NHS 111 by dialling 18001 111.