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Royal Free paediatric closures: Healthwatch concern at public awareness of north London hospital changes

PUBLISHED: 17:18 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:25 03 October 2020

The Royal Free's paediatric services are to close with the Whittington and Great Ormond Street picking up the slack as part of a reorganisation for winter 2020-2021 amid Covid-19 'second wave' planning. Picture: Sam Volpe

The Royal Free's paediatric services are to close with the Whittington and Great Ormond Street picking up the slack as part of a reorganisation for winter 2020-2021 amid Covid-19 'second wave' planning. Picture: Sam Volpe

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A social media poll conducted by health watchdog Healthwatch Camden found that only 1 in 10 respondents were aware of the changes to children’s emergency hospital care in north London.

The group ran a survey for a week just as the changes were set to take effect and of almost 2,000 people to answer, 85 per cent were not aware of what was happening.

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The changes have seen children’s A&E at the Royal Free shut, the same service at UCLH remain closed, and the Whittington Hospital expand its provision to pick up the slack.

NHS bosses have reassured stakeholders this is temporary and said a “comprehensive” communications strategy is in place,

Reflecting on the poll, Matthew Parris, director of Healthwatch Camden, said: “To ensure children and young people are able to continue to access high quality care, an effective information campaign is essential, to ensure that sick children attend the right place first time.”

READ MORE: NHS bosses say ‘new normal should be better than the old normal’ in response to quizzing on closures

READ MORE: Royal Free paediatrics to close and move to the Whittington in Covid-19 plan


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