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Jeremy Hunt's advice on children's rashes

(42 Posts)
JessM Sun 31-Jan-16 08:46:27

This morning on Twitter, doctors are outraged because Jeremy Hunt has said: ‘We may well need more 111 doctors and nurses. But if you’re worried about a rash your child has, an online alternative – where you look at photographs and say “my child’s rash looks like this one” – may be a quicker way of getting to the bottom of whether this is serious or not.’
(reported in Mail yesterday)
This is his suggestion to reduce pressure on 111, GPs etc. in the wake of the child dying of sepsis. Doctors seem to think it's a dangerous suggestion.

ninathenana Sun 31-Jan-16 09:27:20

There are no words sad

Nelliemoser Sun 31-Jan-16 09:42:34

IMO James Naughtie's Radio 4 Today program spoonerism sums up Jeremy Hunt quite nicely.

Elegran Sun 31-Jan-16 09:54:43

Heremy Junt?

hildajenniJ Sun 31-Jan-16 10:00:26

Eh! He doesn't appear to have any common sense. My mother used to say that you should always have a doctor's house call if your child has a rash. Never take a child with a rash to the surgery.

Nelliemoser Sun 31-Jan-16 10:47:29

Come on now Elegran. wink
The problem was James Naughtie's attempts at saying Jeremy (Hunt culture) secretary.
After that happened most news readers started saying
The "culture secretary" Jeremy Hunt.

Nelliemoser Sun 31-Jan-16 10:56:56

My poor little DGS1 is covered in chicken pox right now. I saw him on Tuesday a couple of small pale pink spots on his face, not blistered yet and asked his mum if there was chicken pox about. She did not think they were CP.

It all came out on Thursday. However once seen never forgotten. They are unmistakeable.

Nonnie Sun 31-Jan-16 11:26:35

I think you should ask Grandma and save a lot of time! Most of us would diagnose straight away and know whether it needed a doc or not.

Anya Sun 31-Jan-16 11:39:32

Are these the outraged colleagues of those doctor who actually saw this toddler (several times I believe) and dismissed his condition as just a cold?

We had a similar case locally two years ago, a seven year old girl, who visited her GP surgery twice plus A & E and died from croup because they failed to diagnose correctly and dismissed the mother's concerns.

Why should they be outraged? It would seem that parents need to try to diagnose their child's condition because those who ought to be able to do so, patently are failing.

Nonnie Sun 31-Jan-16 12:24:57

Doctors are imperfect like the rest of us but it seems that sometimes when they don't know they don't admit it. They then blame the patient or the parent. I had an example of this when I was labelled neurotic after a difficult pregnancy but there was something wrong with my baby. It was sorted by a sensible health visitor and 2 years later the doc read of a similar case and told me I was right all along! I don't know how it would have worked out if the HV hadn't recognised it, maybe my baby would have died.

JessM Sun 31-Jan-16 13:10:10

Yes Nellimoser chicken pox is distinctive isn't it, one or two blistery spots one day, then a few more the next... Even then, there are a lot of other conditions that can cause blistery spots according to this site.
Who knew?
Nonnie how many grandmas can put their hand on their heart and say they could diagnose the differences between rashes associated with measles and rubella, between meningitis and sepsis? Or indeed between measles and scarlet fever? My GD had a chest infection accompanied by an allergic type rash - like hives. Mum's an nurse and she didn't know. Stumped the GP for a while too. Any ideas?

Anya the condition that was not recognised by GPs in the tragic recent case was a chest infection. Which does not usually cause a rash. Sepsis does - but when this developed the mother rang 111 and it was not picked up by the script they follow. A really tragic combination of circumstances.

mumofmadboys Sun 31-Jan-16 14:09:37

There is no way a GP could visit every child with a rash! It simply is not necessary or a good use of a GP' s time.

Luckygirl Sun 31-Jan-16 14:37:11

I do not think that a non-medic should be making such remarks, especially as he is in a position of power. It is a medical matter and not one for politicians. Not his job; not his area of expertise. For him to make that remark only serves to illustrate what a prize p*****k he is.

Some rashes are easy to diagnose, some more difficult, some are harmless, some very serious. A lay person should not be making pronouncements such as this. It is wholly irresponsible. There is more to a diagnosis than the rash.

Clearly GPs cannot visit every child with a rash, but it is to be hoped that if they take the child to the GP then a proper and accurate diagnosis will be made. And in the main it is - we only hear when things go wrong.

My ex-GP husband always used to say that mothers usually have a real instinct for when something is badly wrong, and he always took their concerns seriously, even when the child's symptoms seemed not to justify this. There are anxious parents who panic at the slightest thing, but he always took any parent's concerns seriously - they can pick up the subtle nuances that tell them that something is amiss.

Time to get rid of Jeremy Hunt. Such remarks are fine for the pub, but not publicly from a minister in a powerful position who knows absolutely nothing about childhood illnesses.

By all means f**k up the organisation and management of the NHS - this is what he does best - but keep out of the clinical arena.

durhamjen Sun 31-Jan-16 14:55:59

I'd rather he didn't f**k up the organisation and management of the NHS either, Lucky.
Maybe if doctors had enough time these mistakes would not be made.
I remember when my son had scarlet fever in the seventies, the GP did not recognise it at first, and had to look it up in a book. He hadn't seen a real live case before. When my grandson and his sister got it, it was recognised straight away.

Anya Sun 31-Jan-16 15:02:25

'By Michelle Roberts
Health editor, BBC News online
26 January 2016

"The pathologist said the cause of death was septicaemia
Doubts have been raised about whether England's NHS out-of-hours helpline is able to identify serious illnesses in children, after a baby died of blood poisoning following a chest infection.
NHS 111 call handlers are not medically trained, and a report on the 2014 death of William Mead, from Cornwall, said he might have lived if they had realised the seriousness of his condition.

The NHS England report said GPs had also failed to diagnose him.

It urged better recognition of sepsis."

I think you will find that the NHS England report does not agree with you Jess it clearly states that several opportunities were missed and (as highlighted above) says clearly that GPs (note the plural) failed to diagnose him. In fact an almost exact re-run of the case of the 7-year old I mentioned, and she was seen by A&E in addition to a GP.

Too much thinking that mums are 'neurotic' as Nonnie says. They must learn to actually listen to parents, and Grandparents.

Luckygirl Sun 31-Jan-16 15:03:01

My OH (a GP) missed glandular fever in one of our DDs. She was a very poorly lass and after about 10 days I ventured to suggest that it might be glandular fever. He laid a hand on her abdomen and was horrified at the size of her spleen!

I too would rather that Hunt did not f**k up the organisation and management of the NHS durham - it was a weak attempt at humour. grin

durhamjen Sun 31-Jan-16 15:06:55

Thought so, Lucky - not that it was weak, but humour.

Luckygirl Sun 31-Jan-16 15:21:52

Rueful humour might best describe it I think.

durhamjen Sun 31-Jan-16 15:25:03

As in you have to laugh, otherwise you would be crying.
How can people not see what he is doing to the NHS?
Anyway, when his daughter was ill, he took her to A&E rather than bother his GP. He didn't just look it up online.

Yogadatti Sun 31-Jan-16 17:18:07

GPs missed two life threatening conditions....and I mean my son and I were seen by brain haemorrhage was dismissed as anxiety, even though it was text book and I told the doc what I thought it was to be told I was talking son had encephalitis and we were initially told he was just tired and he was seen again by a diff GP who said he was fine , only to have a fit on the floor in front of me at waitrose five minutes later....
I recently have been misadvised by a GP who told me I could take st.johns wort with my prescription medication which turned out to be wrong!

Then there was the GP who was concerned about some lumps on my small sons head...quoting cysts etc....when they were insect bites that disappeared in a couple of days.
I reckon there is more information on the internet than in a bad
gps head sadly....

Galen Sun 31-Jan-16 17:35:39

My gp father missed my glandular fever as well! IT was when I was a first year medical student. The student health service had told me I was suffering from depression.
I went and sat in the queue in his surgery to see his female partner in desperation. She guessed immediately

absent Sun 31-Jan-16 18:15:55

Like the rest of us, GPs can make mistakes and in the case of GPs these mistakes can have desperately serious results. Non-medics on a telephone line reading from a prepared script are even more likely to make mistakes. A politician recommending diagnosis from photographs on the internet is just plain wrong.

Deedaa Sun 31-Jan-16 23:10:55

Perhaps Jeremy Hunt would like us to start looking up treatment on line as well. We could all start buying drugs on line and refusing to vaccinate our children. He wouldn't need to provide any doctors at all!

Anya Mon 01-Feb-16 09:58:15

I really don't understand what the fuss is about.

I always Google symptoms in myself and my DD and DS do the same for their children. It's not instead of visiting a GP (though it does cut down unnecessary visits) and can be as well as. When the GC had chickenpox I, as grandmother, was asked for my opinion on the spots. Then, a visit to GP to confirm.

Had I not been on hand, they would have googled the spots.

Am I missing something here? I'd genuinely like someone to explain why it's considered wrong to suggest a parent google the kind of rash their child has, as then they can reliably inform someone at the end of a phone line eg Out-of-Hours GP, Practice Nurse Orc 111, rather than just try to describe it without reference to a photo that the other person can access too.

Nonnie Mon 01-Feb-16 10:53:44

Jess I disagree. If you read my post I did not say what you infer. I said we would know whether to call a doc or not. That would be based on all sorts of observations including putting hand on forehead to see if it was necessary to take the temperature. Of course if we didn't recognise the rash, for example chicken pox when it is going around, then we would suggest calling the GP. I didn't call the GP when 2 of mine had CP but did with the third because he was clearly very poorly.

These days there would be no reason to recognise measles as children are vaccinated against it.

Just seems daft to call out a GP for every little rash when the child is reasonably healthy, whatever it is is going around, and mum and grandma don't think it is serious. No wonder the NHS is so stretched if it has come to this. Back in my day........................