Children's Consultant Dr Frank Hinde talks about the changes to Children's inpatient services and around the Children's Assessment Unit (PAU)
As you probably know by now, we are planning to move the children's inpatient service from the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) to join the inpatient service at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford in 2014. At the same time, we are working to make sure we continue to provide an outpatients and assessment for chidlren at RSH too.
Although this change is a way off in the future, we have already started planning for this so we can ensure that all children continue to recieve the very best case in both our hospitals. One way in which we will do this will be by relocating the Children's Assessment Unit (PAU) at RSH to be next to A&E.
I would like to rake this opportunity to answer some of the most common questions about the PAU:
What is a PAU?
PAU stands for Paediatric Assessment Unit (or Children's Unit). It is a special unit where children can be quickly assessed and treated. We will have a PAU at both RSH and PRH.
When does a child go to the PAU?
Unless it is an emergency situation, children are brought to the A&E department are directed to the PAU during opening hous to be assessed and treated. This will continue in the new PAUs.
What will happen to the existing PAU at RSH?
There will still be a PAU at RSH, however the plan is for it to be relocated next to A&E.
When will the PAU at RSH be open?
I have been involved in a special group which has been set up to discuss the opening hours of the PAU, and we have looked at a wide range of factors such as the numbers of children who attend hospital at night. Due to the very low numbers of children seen at night, we have decided that we should not aim to keep the PAU open 24 hours a day at RSH.
The current thinking is that the PAU will be open for 13 hours each day. This will mean that the PAU is open during the hours when nearly all children needing the type of care provided by a PAU attend hospital. We are still developing these plans and welcome feedback.
What will happen when the PAU is closed?
When the PAU is not open there will still be a 24-hour A&E department at the RSH. Working with GPs, Shropdoc, ambulance services and other health services we will make sure that there is a clear plan to bring children children quickly to the best place to provide the treatment that they need.
If you call an ambulance for your child during the night when the PAU at RSH is closed, in the vast majority of cases they will be taken straight to PRH. In rare and extreme cases when ambulance paramedics believe that the child cannot get to PRH safely (airway obstruction for example), then they will be taken to the nearest hospital.
It's important to remember that no child will be ever turned away from A&E at RSH.
Any child who is brought to RSH during the night will be quickly seen and assessed by doctors and nurses in A&E. If the child needs to stay in hospital overnight, then, only when it is safe to do so, they will be quickly transported to PRH or, as now, to a regional specialist hospital if they need care that connot be provided in Shrewsbury or Telford.
We are organising focus groups where possible will have the opportunity to discuss the changes to children's services in more detail and share their concerns and ideas for the future. If you are interested in getting involved then please email email@example.com
If you have any further questions or concerns about the changes to children's services or the PAU then please email firstname.lastname@example.org