Intended for healthcare professionals


Helping parents identify severe illnesses in their children

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 26 June 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1711

Baby Check may not do this but it can improve the quality of a consultation

  1. David Jewell, Consultant senior lecturer in primary care
  1. Division of Primary Care, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2PR

    General practice p 1740

    The management of sick children is both a microcosm of primary care and a test of its success—if we cannot get this right we cannot justify any claims to excellence. General practitioners see lots of children, and most of them have minor, self-limiting illness. The fourth national morbidity survey reports a consulting rate of 4.97 for children aged 4 and under, a rate exceeded only by those aged 75 and over. When the illnesses are classified as minor, intermediate, or serious the consulting rate for minor illness is the highest of any age group.1 General practitioners have the task of dealing with this high volume of work quickly and efficiently, without overtreating the children or making parents feel they have been the victims of perfunctory or, worse, incompetent care. At the same time, and most important of all, they must be able to identify the small numbers of children with serious illness.

    For many general practitioners the amount of time that work with minor illnesses takes up, among adults as well as children, is a …

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