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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Increased referrals for children with suspected diabetes in Northern Trust

An increasing number of children with suspected diabetes are being referred to paediatric dietetics, Northern Health and Social Care Trust board members have been told.

Members heard that referrals of children to this department for obesity, feeding issues and "faltering growth” are on the rise and there are also “significant” allergy referrals.

Last month, there were 2,092 adults and 781 children on the Northern Trust’s waiting list for dietetic services.

Members were advised of increasing referrals to the department from nursing homes.

Meanwhile, a 36 per cent increase in “red flag” gynaecological referrals and a 36 per cent increase in “red flag” gynae out-patients between 2019 and 2022 was reported at the meeting. Gynae in-patient day cases have increased by 16 per cent.

The 31-day target from decision to treat gynae patients with suspected cancer and waiting for treatment was “above 80 per cent” from April with gynae “red flag” waiting lists reported to be “on an even keel” between April and September.

The update to members also indicated that there are 384 people in the Northern area waiting more than nine weeks for mental health and learning disability services. There are 858 waiting for psychological therapies and there are 720 on the waiting list for children’s services.

Members proceeded to ask about waiting times for patients brought to the Northern Trust’s accident and emergency departments by ambulance.

In response to a query over the likelihood of a patient waiting 12 hours in an ambulance, Audrey Harris, the Northern Trust’s  divisional director medicine and emergency medicine, said:

“We do have significant waits but fortunately we do not have anyone waiting 12 hours. I would be very concerned if we had someone waiting for 12 hours.”

She noted patients are triaged within 15 minutes adding medics are “pro-active” and will “come out to ambulances to see that care is given”.


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