Free booklet could save a trip to A&E

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Hertfordshire GPs have funded a new booklet on childhood illnesses for parents.

The simple booklet, covering everything from head lice to meningitis, is designed to help parents and carers understand when to seek urgent medical help, and prevent unnecessary trips to A&E.

When young children get ill, it can be very hard to know how serious it is and whether to seek medical attention.

Most everyday childhood bumps and bruises can be left alone or treated with painkillers and a plaster, but a minority of serious illnesses need immediate emergency medical attention.

Between April 2015 and January 2016, Herts Valleys figures show that 2,837 children under four who were taken to A&E did not require medical treatment.

This cost the local NHS almost £200,000.

Many parents just needed advice and reassurance – which is where the new booklet comes in.

The booklets, which have been distributed to to primary schools, children’s centres and childminders, have been produced by Hertfordshire’s GP-led organisations, Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and East and North Herts CCG with Herts County Council.

Herts Valleys CCG’s clinical lead for children, Dr Rami Eliad, said: “I completely understand how worrying it is when your child is ill and you want to do whatever it takes to make them better. That’s why we have developed this booklet to give parents the advice they need to take appropriate action. If parents are still unsure, a free phone call to NHS 111 will point them to the right service for their child’s needs.”

To download a copy of the booklet, see www.enhertsccg.nhs.uk/childhood-illnesses