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Coronavirus: Bring children to A&E if they're sick, say doctors


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Parents have been urged to take their children to hospital if they are sick and not keep them at home for fear of catching Covid-19.

Parents have been urged to take their children to hospital if they are sick and not keep them at home for fear of catching Covid-19.

PA

Parents have been urged to take their children to hospital if they are sick and not keep them at home for fear of catching Covid-19.

Parents have been urged to take their children to hospital if they are sick and not keep them at home for fear of catching Covid-19.

In a video by the South Eastern Trust, Ulster Hospital children's doctor Bernadette O'Connor said child and adult patients were being kept separate to protect them.

She said: "We know that you are very worried about keeping your children safe from Covid-19 but we know that children are getting sick for different reasons.

"If you're worried about a sick child - please don't stay at home. Come and get some medical assessment, we are here for you."

Last week UK health specialists warned the NHS that children were dying because their families were afraid to bring them to hospital in the Covid-19 crisis.

Senior GP Colin Fitzpatrick said parents should contact health services "as soon as you're worried".

Dr O'Connor added: "Yes we are busy at the hospital. We do look a little scary in our PPE but it is designed to protect ourselves and your child."

Meanwhile, the Western Health Trust cardiology service issued an urgent message, urging the public not to put off seeking hospital treatment if they are experiencing common cardiac conditions such as a heart attack, and to seek immediate medical treatment.

Dr Paul McGlinchey, consultant cardiologist at the Western Trust, said: "We have noticed that the number of patients coming to hospital with common cardiac conditions such as heart attacks has fallen away dramatically and this is a pattern that has been seen in all regions affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

"We know the public are listening to the public health messages to stay at home and away from hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, we don't think that there are any less patients suffering from these common cardiac conditions.

"We think that patients are avoiding seeking medical attention for their complaints because of the public advice given or perhaps because of a fear on being exposed to Covid-19 if they attend the hospital.

"We want to assure patients that there are excellent treatment options available for treating common cardiac conditions."

Dr McGlinchey said a failure to access healthcare professionals may have "significant consequences for patients and their loved ones".

He added: "We are asking patients with chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations and blackouts to contact our service by telephone for initial assessment. This is a 24 hours per day, seven days per week service.

"An experienced cardiac nurse will assess the history over the telephone. They will have full access to previous records."

Last week the Southern Health Trust's chief executive said the admission rate to Craigavon Area Hospital's non-Covid emergency department is lower than normal.

Shane Devlin said that closing the emergency department at Daisy Hill has not placed an undue burden on the non-Covid emergency department at Craigavon.

He acknowledged the effect the current coronavirus crisis is having on the public's desire to attend hospital.

"People are concerned and scared at present," Mr Devlin said.

"They don't wish to come to hospital at the minute. The number of people travelling through our normal system is lower."

He said other factors included less road use and fewer accidents.

Belfast Telegraph