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Warning following missed appointments at hospital
2:00pm Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
THE safeguarding team at Warrington Hospital are urging parents to let them know if they cannot make an appointment for their child after there were 1,190 missed appointments in the last year.
Staff have seen examples of youngsters repeatedly not attending including one child whose plaster cast was left on unnecessarily over Christmas and only removed months later causing the skin to rot underneath.
Nicki Richardson, from the children’s safeguarding team, said: “One thing we’re focussed on this year is neglect which we think is going to go up due to the economic downturn.
“We have been tracking 70 patients this year which have been classed as regularly missing essential health appointments.
“Sometimes I think parents don’t see the significance of appointments but we’ve been dealing with one child who needs glasses and once they are seven their eye sight will be as good as it gets so it’s important to correct prescriptions while their eyes are developing.
“We have robust systems in place now so we don’t miss patients.
“When there’s pressure on families neglect is the first thing to go up.”
When appointments are missed, a health advisor will check if contact details are up-to-date and will help children and their families get to appointments.
In cases of possible neglect, staff pass on information to health visitors who can then add it to the ‘bigger picture’ and senior doctors take the lead in assessments.
Staff have said many parents do not realise a free bus service links Warrington and Halton hospital and want to stress the importance of cancelling an appointment so it can be used for someone else rather than just not turning up.
Nicki added: “Every family struggles at some point but it’s about getting that extra support and often when you scratch the surface you’ll find lots of things going on like the ill health of another family member.
“If one child is having a lot of accidents you have to ask is something going wrong but it’s very nice to be proved wrong.”
THE hospital’s safeguarding team have been dealing with 70 cases in the last year of parents repeatedly missing appointments for their children.
Examples include a baby who could have suffered long term kidney damage if not treated.
After repeated missed appointments health visitors arranged a home visit to advise of dangers to the tot’s health but the mother continued to miss appointments and the baby was placed under a child protection plan for neglect.
A youngster with diabetes also missed a number of appointments with the mother fearing staff would think she was a bad mother.
Additional support was offered and after conversations with the mum she is now attending appointments.
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