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Health Secretary accused of contradicting advice

Would you think twice about taking your child to A&E?

A visit to an accident and emergency department by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt at the weekend, has led to a debate in the House of Commons about when parents should and shouldn’t go to casualty.


Mr Hunt took his children to A&E at the weekend.

He’s since been accused of contradicting official Government advice, which points to walk-in centres, minor injury units or calling the NHS non-emergency 111 number before heading to A&E.

But, if you thought it was the only option available to you, would you defy government advice?

Mr Hunt, who has three children under the age of five, said: “I’ve taken my own children to an A&E department at the weekend precisely because I didn’t want to wait until later on to take them to see a GP”.

It can be hard for parents to know whether the care their children need is a real emergency.

Following the debate, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham wrote to Mr Hunt about his “apparent contradiction”.

The Labour front-bencher claimed it was “highly problematic” for Mr Hunt to suggest it is acceptable for people to “bypass GPs and go straight to A&E”.

The pair then continued the discussion of the issue on Twitter.

Mr Hunt insisted A&E provides a trusted service for parents with an unwell child needing medical attention as soon as possible.

The Health Secretary has pledged to improve access to GPs, so that more people can see a family doctor at evenings and weekends.

Prime Minister David Cameron has offered to extend access to GPs, seven days a week for every NHS patient in England, should the Tories win the general election.

Useful advice for dads can be found on the NHS website.

It tells patients to only visit A&E for “life-threatening emergencies” including severe blood loss, unconsciousness and breathing difficulties.

But in a moment of panic, it is hard to be specific on the action to take when you just want to make sure your children are given the best possible medical care.

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