After school clinic to be launched to try to reduce "unnecessary" A & E tripsBy Becky Barnes
October 22, 2012
An after-school children’s clinic will be launched in a bid to stop parents making ‘unnecessary’ trips to A&E.
The children’s evening clinic will be piloted for nine months at the Royal Berkshire Bracknell Clinic, Brants Bridge, from 4pm to 9pm Mondays to Fridays.
Councillor Dale Birch, executive member for adult social care and housing at Bracknell Forest Council, said: “The cost of taking people to A&E is very high compared to taking them to local doctors.
“The whole concept is about making services for children more accessible to parents. What the Clinical Commissioning Groups and PCT are trying to achieve is to be able to provide a service that will allow parents to take children for often minor worries to a local clinic.”
Parents of children up to 16 years will be able to use the clinic if they cannot get an emergency appointment with a GP; for a second opinion or if they might go to A&E for a non-emergency otherwise.
An NHS Berkshire spokeswoman said: “The aim of the service is to provide a clinic specifically for sick children to reduce travel times and avoid parents unnecessarily taking them to accident and emergency departments.
“The new clinic will enable faster access to a doctor for parents who need medical support for their children when their GP surgery is closed.”
The clinic will offer appointments with nurses or doctors and a walk-in service. A weekend opening could be added if demanded.
Cllr Birch added: “The important message is people will have to use this clinic – this is a pilot, it is not forever.
“If people are happy with it, use it properly and it reduces emissions to A&E then we will keep it.”
Plans are also in place to educate the public on when to go to A&E and when it is appropriate to see a doctor.
Cllr Birch said: “Parents often choose the quickest route where we have to look at cost. This is about getting better services locally – we are always fighting for better facilities, closer to patients.
“It also reduces the cost for the NHS.”
A date has not yet been set for the clinic to open.
An NHS Berkshire spokeswoman said: “In the meantime, parents are reminded there are alternatives to using accident and emergency departments including pharmacies, NHS Direct and the out of hours doctors service.
“Young children often get coughs, colds or an upset stomach, all of which can easily be treated at home.”