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Posted on 10th October 2016

Study highlights doctor’s failure to check children with fever

A high temperature in the under-fives can be a sign of sepsis, meningitis or pneumonia, but this basic test could be being skipped by GPs.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines state that children should be examined for these conditions when they go to the doctor.

Dr Alice Lee, from Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust looked at 47 children from a surgery in Stockport and found only 13 per cent received a full check.

There are four checks that should be carried out on a child when they see a doctor and these include: temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate and capillary refill time.

Dr Lee’s analysis found that one in three children received no tests, or only one test, when visiting the GP in Stockport.

Abnormal respiratory rate is often the first sign of serious illness, but Dr Lee found this was the test least likely to be carried out.

Dr Lee added to her report that most children with a high temperature have a viral illness that will resolve itself.

“Differentiating these children from the ones who develop serious illnesses, can be tricky,” she continued.

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