Winter in Paeds A&E

Is often unsafe.

We have enough money for the shifts, but they’re not being filled. From time to time we have hadĀ one nurseĀ running the night shift. That nurse has to triage patients, observe patients and help doctors in treating them. So, when an emergency comes in, and the waiting room’s full, the waiting room has to wait. Or, we borrow nurses from the already hugely overstretched adult A&E; these nurses are excellent but they’re not paediatric nurses and so have not necessarily been trained in what to do if a very very sick five day old comes in.

Even when we are fully staffed we often don’t have enough space. If you have 50 patients come in three hours with only nine beds in the department…you do the maths. It don’t add up. That means patients having to be treated in areas away from monitoring equipment and not designed for patients to treated in.

How do we fix this? Train more nurses (Simple.) and keep them in the UK (Pay them more, and more nurses means better shift patterns … virtuous circle.).