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Children who leave the emergency department without being seen: a retrospective case note review
  1. Nicola Sparrow,
  2. Trudie Pestell,
  3. Mike Clancy
  1. Emergency Department, University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, Hampshire, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nicola Sparrow, Emergency Department, University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Tremona Road, Southampton, Hampshire SO16 6YD, UK; nicola.sparrow{at}uhs.nhs.uk.

Abstract

Introduction Children who attend an emergency department and then leave without being seen (LWBS) are a major concern as they are a potentially vulnerable group who may come to harm through failure to provide a timely and accessible service.

Objectives We wished to establish the size of this population and importantly what subsequently happened to them over the following 7 days from their initial attendance, and the relevance of the College of Emergency Medicine LWBS Quality Indicator (QI 4) to this group.

Methods A retrospective case note review over 6 months of all paediatric attendances who LWBS.

Setting Southampton Paediatric Emergency Department.

Results During a 6-month study period, 10 795 attended, of which 544 (5%) LWBS. 12.6% (69/544) reattended over the next 7 days, of which 14 were admitted, 7 for <12 h.

Conclusions The majority who LWBS do so during peak times. Very few paediatric patients who LWBS then reattended required admission for >12 h (7/544, 1.3%). The rate of reattendance of those who LWBS and review of their case notes is potentially more valuable than the LWBS rate alone.

  • paediatrics
  • emergency department

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