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  • Vic children emergency cases increases

    Author: AAP

The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne will get a new ward within its emergency department to help deal with a spike in children being taken there.

Too many parents are taking sick kids to the Melbourne Royal Children's Hospital instead of a GP, leading to a record spike in admissions.

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About 8000 children presented to the Royal Children's Hospital in May, almost 2000 more than at the beginning of the year.

The spike has prompted the hospital to urge parents to assess whether their child could be treated by their GP before resorting to hospital care - especially on Sunday, the hospital's busiest day for admissions.

The Victorian government is also bringing forward its plan to open a $1.4 million ward within the emergency department to treat more patients.


Occupational Therapist
SA Health, Limestone Coast Local Health Network
Occupational Therapist - Senior
Charters Towers Health Service

"It's to provide fast-track care for those kids coming to the hospital who don't necessarily require admission but do require attention," Health Minister Jill Hennessy told reporters on Thursday.

The new ward will have 10 treatment spaces and be able to treat an extra 80 patients a day.

Ms Hennessy says parents are voting with their feet and coming to the Melbourne Royal Children's Hospital, but it is putting a strain on doctors and nurses.

"It's important that we focus on providing care to the sickest of children and the sickest of patients first," she said.

Emergency department director Stuart Lewena is confident the new ward will ensure clinical staff can balance urgent and non-urgent cases.

"We don't feel it will compromise care for emergency patients at all," he said.

Dr Lewena says the number of children not requiring urgent medical care being taken to hospital is increasing every year.

The state government set aside $10 billion for Victorian hospitals in this year's budget, as part of $16.47 billion to be spent across the entire health system.


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