KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) and National University Hospital (NUH) have launched PaedsENGAGE (ENGagement and GP Empowerment), a pilot programme where they have partnered with general practitioners (GPs) to enhance their abilities to manage paediatric medical conditions at their clinics.
PaedsENGAGE GPs: Delivering Comprehensive Care to Children, Closer to Home
Under the programmes, PaedsENGAGE GPs receive dedicated training to manage paediatric cases, including assessing if the child requires further observation at the Children’s Emergency department.
To be certified as PaedsENGAGE GP Partners, GPs need to complete a comprehensive training programme designed by KKH and NUH.
Modules in the programme include approaches to common paediatric conditions such as abdominal pain, breathlessness, common eye, ear, nose and throat conditions, minor injuries, common infections, antibiotic use and more.
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Associate Professor Sashikumar Ganapathy, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Emergency Medicine, KKH, said, “PaedsENGAGE is a significant step towards building a stronger paediatric healthcare ecosystem in Singapore. By collaborating with GPs, we can extend our reach and deliver comprehensive care to children in the community. This partnership will offer parents and caregivers greater access to care, so that more children can receive the appropriate treatment at the right time, close to home.”
Since the launch of the PaedsENGAGE in April 2023, more than 285 GPs have been trained and certified.
Keeping Children’s Emergency for Emergency Cases
A media release from KKH advised, “For children with mild to moderate conditions, parents and caregivers are strongly encouraged to visit participating PaedsENGAGE GPs rather than the Children’s Emergency.“
This is because at Children’s Emergency, priority is given based on the severity of patients’ conditions, and not on a first-come-first-served basis.
Children with life-threatening conditions are attended to first, and those assessed to have less severe ailments may have to wait longer for their turn. Common ailments include symptoms such as fever, cough, vomiting, diarrhoea, minor injuries and rashes.
“We want to ensure that children who really need emergency care can be attended to as soon as possible. Time is especially crucial for those who come to Children’s Emergency with life-threatening conditions. Timely medical attention prevents further deterioration of their symptoms or long-term effects. It can save their lives,” added Associate Professor Sashikumar.
On average, KKH and NUH see approximately 15,000 and 3,800 cases respectively at its Children’s Emergency each month, with a large number of children found to have common ailments that do not require emergency care.
To help caregivers decide on where to seek care, they can utilise the following resources:
- KKH Urgent Paediatric Advice Line (U-PAL) – a complimentary 24-hour online service that can help them assess if the child requires a visit to Children’s Emergency,
- NUH Children’s Emergency website – for information on managing common ailments in children and when to seek medical attention.
- HealthHub SG app or website (www.healthhub.sg)
Aligned with Healthier SG Programme
When children are referred to Children’s Emergency by PaedsENGAGE GPs, they will be referred back to the same GP for follow-ups. This is in line with the Healthier SG programme that encourages individuals to take charge of their own healthcare needs by enrolling with a single doctor who will support them in their health needs throughout their lives.
Paediatric patients who are referred to KKH or NUH Children’s Emergency by PaedsENGAGE GPs will receive a $50 subsidy on prevailing attendance fees.
“To ensure continuity of care, children who are referred to KKH or NUH’s Children’s Emergency by PaedsENGAGE GPs will be referred back to the same GP for follow-ups where required. In doing so, GPs will have a better understanding of the child’s medical history, and they will be able to play a bigger role in supporting the child’s healthcare needs as the child grows up,” said Dr Jasmine Ho, Consultant, Children’s Emergency, Khoo Teck Puat – National University Children’s Medical Institute, NUH.
Find out more about the PaedsENGAGE programme and certified GPs.
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