In a huge overhaul of child healthcare unveiled yesterday, gives young patients a specific status within the NHS in Scotland for the first time . Giving priority to the way children are treated, and include a framework for the children similar to that already laid down for adults.
Under the proposals, the first of its kind, the doctors would also be given new financial rewards for their handling of the young people. Majority of NHS staff would also be trained to enable them to manage sick children, with national standards being introduced for assessing their condition in emergency situations. The report also urged general hospitals to provide separate rooms or sections for children and their families away from main A&E waiting areas.
Meanwhile the Scottish Executive report raised serious concerns about shortage in the paediatric units in Scotland. The report, by Lewis Macdonald, deputy health minister, says many child health teams have less than the recommended number of consultants, with just one or two serving their local area. According to estimates provided by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, the number of consultants will have to increase from 188 in 2004-05 to almost 300 by 2013.
But the opposition parties were concerned that children's NHS services could become more centralised, forcing some youngsters to travel long distances for treatment. The opposition were still concerned that even routine services, such as general surgery, may eventually be centralised to fewer locations in big cities.
The Executive's consultation document on paediatric services said children should receive NHS locally wherever possible. The paper said that even if specialised services may have to be delivered at a few sites, diagnosis and after-care could be carried out locally. The document said NHS boards should provide inpatient paediatrics and maximises staff and avoids multi-site working. It also suggested that the NHS makes use of the internet and mobile phones to give children health advice.