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Action planned as emergency hospital admissions of children with asthma increase in Doncaster

Doncaster Royal Infirmary
Doncaster Royal Infirmary

Health bosses are taking action after Doncaster saw a rise in the number of emergency admissions of children suffering from asthma.

Alarm bells were set ringing after a spike in cases involving youngsters visiting Doncaster Royal Infirmary with the potentially life-threatening condition was recorded in September last year.

The month saw a child brought in nearly every day, with 25 cases, compared to 15 the previous year. It was the fourth month in a row that saw emergency admissions with the condition higher than the previous year, and the figure is running above the borough's official NHS targets.

Doncaster NHS Clinical Commissioning group chairman Dr David Crichton said health bosses were now looking at bringing in a nurse specialising in the area.

He said the role would see a nurse working in the community.

He added: "We want to know what the contributory factors are, and we are doing an audit to find out..

"There are children who go to hospital but don't stay in very long, perhaps just 24 hours, and go home. Traditionally Doncaster has been a high area for asthma."

Documents which went before the commissioning group's governors noted the big rise in September.

They stated: "It has been noted that those children admitted from A&E to the ward are coming from areas which are closest to the hospital."

Doctors want to see what factors are leading to the problem, stating that asthma was a serious condition and children will need to be admitted to hospital, but asking if there were other contributing factors, such as whether they were using the correct inhalers.

Doncaster's public health director Dr Rupert Suckling said new officials guidance on asthma is available, adding age can make a difference, and obesity and being overweight can also contribute. He said there was evidence that community respiratory nursing can make a positive difference.

Funding has now also been agreed for commissioning a paediatric respiratory nurse from Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals.

The funding for a community nurse would be tied in with wider children's community nursing.

Meanwhile, hospital bosses say they have seen a seasonal rise in respiratory illness.

Moira Hardy, director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals at the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust, said: “As is to be expected when the weather turns colder, we have seen an increase in cases of respiratory illnesses such as bronchiolitis, however this is within our normal expectations and planning for the winter months.

“Subject to business case and review, we are currently exploring the creation of a respiratory nurse post who will offer specialist care for patients suffering with acute and chronic respiratory illnesses, working alongside our existing teams.”