The Children’s Emergency Department at King George Hospital will be closed overnight during the winter to help to manage Covid-19, with parents advised that on contacting 111 they will be told to bring their child to Queen’s Hospital if they need to be seen by an emergency doctor. The change will come into force on Monday 16th November.
Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs both hospitals, has reassured parents that it continues to provide the same, safe care for children and young people. The Trust has taken this temporary step to ensure it uses its resources appropriately to keep patients safe, as there are a number of staff vacancies that it’s actively working to fill, and several of its paediatricians are shielding during the pandemic.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Magda Smith said: “This is a Covid measure for Covid times. The Children’s Emergency Department will be closed between 9pm and 9am so please do not bring your child there during these hours. This is because there will be no specialist children’s doctor on duty.
“We know it can be confusing to know what to do when your child is unwell or injured. If you need advice, and your child has an urgent, but not life-threatening, health problem, please contact 111 first. This can be done either online or by phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and the service is free to use (including from all mobiles). If it’s a life-threatening emergency, phone 999.”
The Trust is absolutely committed to re-opening the paediatric Emergency Department at King George Hospital during the night as soon as it is safe to do so. It is hoped this will be by April 2021, subject to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
The Trust had to close its children’s inpatient ward at King George Hospital, earlier this year, to look after very sick Covid-19 patients. It will remain closed this winter and all children who need to stay in hospital will continue to be admitted to the children’s ward at Queen’s Hospital.