The short-stay paediatric assessment unit

Child smiling

The short-stay paediatric assessment unit (SSPAU) assesses and treats children and young people referred by their GP or who have an open access arrangement.

Children on the unit will receive specialist assessments, monitoring and treatment from our dedicated children’s team, including paediatric consultants and experienced children’s nurses.

The unit is currently open:

  • Mondays to Fridays – 9am to 7pm

From 1 May 2018, the short-stay paediatric assessment will be open:

  • Mondays to Fridays – 9am to 6pm

Why are opening times changing?

The numbers using the service are very low and we want to ensure the best use of our resources for the wider population.

We anticipate the impact on patients will be minimal as very few children attend the unit after 6pm. For more information please speak to a member of staff or visit our Friarage changes page.

How does the unit work?

There is growing evidence across the country that this type of assessment unit is very effective at treating children and preventing overnight hospital admissions.

Children are referred here by their GP for a specialist paediatric opinion with the intention they will only be admitted if they cannot be cared for at home. Your child will be assessed by a nurse first and then a doctor, usually a consultant.

Children stay on the assessment unit for a period of time for observation before being discharged home. Occasionally they may need to be transferred to a children’s ward at another hospital for overnight care.

What happens is a child needs to stay in hospital overnight?

Any child who needs an overnight stay or longer-term inpatient care will need to go to another hospital such as The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough or Darlington Memorial Hospital depending on where they live. We are working closely with GPs and the ambulance service to ensure children are sent to the right site according to their needs.

We hope that most children will be treated in our short-stay assessment unit and will be able to be discharged home on the same day.

Contact us

Further details about the children’s unit and the SSPAU are available in the leaflet below but if you have any queries or concerns please contact us on 01609 763002.

Short-stay paediatric assessment unit leaflet(134kb)
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