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File photo. Children's urgent care unit in Blanchardstown Leah Farrell/

Families putting off attending hospital appointments for children during pandemic, hospital group says

The advice from Children’s Health Ireland today is that parents should bring their children to hospital if advised to do so.

CHILDREN’S HEALTH IRELAND (CHI) has urged parents to avoid any delays in seeking treatment for their child – at a GP or at hospital – as it said patients and staff are being kept as safe as they can during the coronavirus pandemic.

The hospital group – which operates sites in Crumlin, Tallaght, Blanchardstown and Temple Street – has said there’s been a reduction in attendances at emergency departments for children across its hospitals and at the urgent care centre at Connolly in Blanchardstown since schools were closed across the country over six weeks ago.

It is also seeing cases where there’s been a delay in children being brought to its hospitals with injuries or illnesses that require an emergency assessment. 

GPs have also said that patients are not contacting them in good time for advice and seeking appointments, CHI said.

The advice is if you feel you or someone at home needs to see their GP or needs GP advice to please avoid any delay in contacting their local surgery.

Dr Ciara Martin, consultant in paediatric emergency medicine at CHI, said: “The message from our EDs is if your child needs urgent treatment and care please go to your nearest Emergency Department immediately or dial 999/112 for emergency care.

Please do not delay seeking treatment. EDs always prioritise the sickest patients first for treatment.

The hospital group said its patients are checked for symptoms of Covid-19 on arrival. After an initial assessment, patients are divided into two separate treatment pathways – one for those who need treatment or further assessment for Covid-19 and another for non-Covid cases.

It added: “We know that families are putting off attending hospital appointments even when the hospital team has contacted them and advised that they need to attend. If you have an urgent or time critical hospital appointment please attend as advised by your hospital.

If you are worried or have concerns please phone the hospital staff. Please do not delay getting your treatment and attending you appointment as advised by your hospital team.

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