INVESTMENT in paediatric A&E departments in north Cumbria has been welcomed by patients and staff, who say the facilities allow them to cater for 'more complex needs'. 

Back in 2020 the trust opened a specialist paediatric area in the Cumberland Infirmary’s Accident & Emergency department.

The upgrade meant a bigger space and more specialist rooms to cater for babies up to teens.

Paediatric A&E, which used to have just one waiting room and one cubicle, now includes a waiting room, a triage room, a safe room, a high dependency unit and three clinic rooms. 

One patient said: "As I was attending with a 14-year-old we were in the very nice children’s area waiting room.

"The triage nurse was lovely and very quick.

"We did wait a long time but it was very busy and more urgent cases came in. They did their best to put my son at ease and double checked their diagnosis with a surgeon."

The main challenges the department faced before the upgrade was lack of staff and lack of space to see children confidentially.

The department is not only bigger now but is also equipped to cater for needs that are more complex.

The high dependency unit will enable the A&E teams to provide better care for those who come in with urgent care needs, while the safe room is an important addition to support children with mental health needs.

Another patient added: "My son has ADHD, ASD, and sensory issues and he became overwhelmed due to the noise.

"The doctor on duty in the children’s department saw this and gave him a quiet area to wait and saw him immediately."

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Katie Habebe, sister for paediatrics in emergency care, added: "I’m really proud of the development of the department as a whole this last year but I am most proud of our growing team.

"There was only three nurses and through hard work we have developed our team, not just in numbers but in skills too. We now have 10 paediatric nurses and two consultants along with brilliant students and healthcare assistants.

"We don’t plan to stop now; we are committed to being the best team we can be."