A child’s right to the best possible healthcare (UNCRC 24) does not disappear during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Children’s Health Scotland team have been making ‘kindness calls’ to check in with families and young people, and we have been concerned to hear that some parents and carers have delayed seeking medical attention or are understandably worried about accessing healthcare at this time. Concerns have included:
- Worry that their child might catch COVID-19 if they go to a doctor or a hospital.
- Worry that the health service is too busy with COVID-19, and unable to see patients with ‘other’ or ‘normal’ health concerns.
- Worry that they might not be able to stay with their child in an ambulance, during treatment or during a hospital stay.
Hearing of these concerns, Dagmar Kerr, the Area coordinator of our Children’s Health and Wellbeing Service in Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC), spoke to Jen Rodgers, who is GGC’s Chief Nurse for Neonatal, Children and Young People’s Services and also chairs the Rights of the Child Group. She said:
RHC Glasgow’s clinical and support teams are at work and ready as ever to look after children requiring care. Whether that be a normal childhood illness, accident or something more serious, please don’t be afraid to bring your child to hospital if you think they need to be seen. We have very clear pathways set up to manage the COVID19 pandemic and ensure children are streamed early to the right place. Whilst there are visiting restrictions in place at the moment, a parent or carer will almost always be able to be with their child and will still be able to stay in hospital with them overnight if they are admitted to a ward. Please be reassured we will do our best to continue a person and family centred approach to care within the restrictions that this pandemic has brought.
Staying away from or delaying a call to the doctor because of the above worries could:
- lead to a child’s chronic condition getting worse.
- make the positive outcome of any treatment less likely.
- mean that important time is lost when a child develops a new illness.
Health professionals have expressed concerns that children might become more unwell or even die because of a delay in getting them medical help.
So, if you are at all worried about your child’s health – be it their chronic condition or something new which you are not sure of – our advice is please do not hesitate to get them the help they need by calling your GP, getting advice from NHS 24 by calling 111, or calling 999 in an emergency.