• New mobile app advises Devon parents on common childhood illnesses

    DEVON Doctors and other NHS organisations in the county have launched a new mobile app which will give parents up-to-date advice about common childhood illnesses and how to treat them.

    NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group [NHS NEW Devon CCG], Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust [NDHT], the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundation Trust [RD&E] and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust [PHT] have worked in partnership to launch the app.

    The HANDi paediatric app – developed by Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust – is now available to download for free onto any Apple or Android smartphone or tablet. The app has been designed as a way to reduce the number of children and young people who visit A&E but need no treatment.

    It has been developed by paediatric consultants and will give parents access to home care plans, as well as GP and hospital clinical guidelines, for the most common childhood health care concerns. The app contains information about when and how to ask for help, along with what to expect when your child is being assessed.

    Devon Doctors clinicians will use the app as a reference tool while, at the same time, encouraging parents to download and utilise it.

    Dr Shelagh McCormick, the CCG’s lead doctor for children and young people, said: “We know parents generally don’t want to take their children to A&E unless it’s absolutely necessary – but often they end up there because they are not sure what else to do.

    “We hope this app will give parents more confidence in dealing with the more minor conditions themselves at home.”

    The conditions covered are:

    • Diarrhoea and vomiting
    • ‘Chesty baby’ illnesses, such as bronchiolitis, asthma and croup
    • ‘Chesty child’ illnesses, such as wheezing and asthma
    • High temperature
    • Abdominal pain
    • Common newborn problems

    The app takes parents through a series of questions about the symptoms their child is experiencing and then advises on the best course of action, whether that’s to treat at home, to make a GP appointment, to go to a minor injuries unit or walk-in centre, or to head to A&E.

    Dr McCormick added: “Of course, parents will be advised to seek further help where necessary.

    “This app is really about ensuring children are cared for in the most appropriate environment for their condition.”

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