New rapid-access children’s appointment service could give parents ease of mind
A new service from Vhi cuts down lengthy waiting times by having a consultant paediatrician examining your child within 48 hours of a GP referral
The paediatrician will assess your child's condition and can provide medical investigations if required including X-ray and blood tests. Photograph: iStock
We all know the parents who rush to the doctor every time their child has the sniffles. We may even be that parent. But when is a parent worrying too much – and when does a child need medical attention? Vhi is hoping to make it easier for concerned parents to achieve peace of mind with its new offering, the Vhi Paediatric Clinic.
The new offering from the insurer provides a rapid-access outpatient service exclusively for Vhi members. And rapid means rapid, with no lengthy wait times involved; a consultant paediatrician will be examining your child within 48 hours of receipt of a referral letter. The paediatrician will assess your child's condition and can provide medical investigations if they are required including X-ray and blood tests, as well as recommendations on treatments and further follow-up.
A paediatric nurse and a senior paediatric dietitian will also be available to support families at the newly-established clinic in Dundrum. Examples of common childhood conditions covered by the scheme include hay fever, rash, persistent cough, asthma, recurrent infections, bedwetting and eczema. New-born baby and development milestone checks are also provided.
An experienced team of specialist consultant paediatricians and dietitians’ staff the clinic, including senior paediatric dietician Cathy Monaghan who brings over 10 years’ experience in paediatric dietetics with her to the clinic. She acknowledges that most parents are concerned about any health issues when it comes to small children and says any suspicions that their child needs specialist care should be acted upon.
“If in doubt, get checked out,” she asserts. “As a parent, it is important to listen to your intuition and discuss any concerns with a professional. Your GP will help put you at ease or refer you to a specialist if required. Having rapid access to specialist paediatric healthcare professionals offers great peace of mind to parents.”
Until now parents have had little control over access and waiting times to the right expertise for their child
Indeed, having speedy access to the right expertise can be crucial, says Monaghan. “The sooner any health issue is addressed by the correct professional, the better the outcome. Having rapid access to experienced paediatricians and paediatric dietitians is extremely important.” The short timeframe offered by the new service is unmatched, she adds. “Until now parents have had little control over access and waiting times to the right expertise for their child.”
Monaghan knows more than most of the various queries and concerns that can haunt a parent when it comes to their child’s growth and development. While some may be easily addressed, others will require closer attention.
“Every parent wants the very best for their child. A growing child’s nutritional status has a huge influence on their long-term health,” she advises. Common nutritional concerns in early childhood would include cow’s milk protein allergy, babies struggling to gain weight, babies and children gaining too much weight, allergies, intolerances, constipation, food refusal and fussy eating, she says. “Parents also benefit from the correct support throughout weaning/introducing solids.”
Infant nutrition can be a confusing topic, and Monaghan notes the proliferation of self-proclaimed experts in this area. “Nutrition is a complex science and parents should be selective about who influences how they address any nutritional issue. There are many sources of dietary information, however, the most qualified and experienced people to guide parents on the nutritional needs of their child are paediatric dietitians. Dietitians are registered healthcare professionals.”
So is there such a thing as the over-cautious parent? Monaghan is adamant that any problem causing distress to the baby/child and/or parent should be addressed without delay. “Any problem or concern with a young baby – such as not keeping down milk feeds – should be addressed immediately.”
The advice is simple: there is no need for a parent or child to suffer unnecessarily. “Given the opportunity, every parent would take away any problem from their child. Seeing your child suffer in any way is distressing,” says Monaghan. “Having rapid access to paediatricians and paediatric dietitians is a real comfort for parents.”
Vhi health insurance customers can now access a consultant quickly at our Vhi Paediatric Clinic in Dundrum. From GP to consultant within 48 hours – be seen within two sleeps. For more information, visit vhi.ie/paediatrician