News : Smartphone App is Better Than Calling 111 If Your Baby is Sick
London, UK, Feb 1, 2016 -- Anxious parents worried about their child's health have been urged to use a smartphone app to check for illnesses - after a report revealed the NHS 111 service has failed to spot life-threatening conditions in babies.
Baby Check has been developed by academics and health professionals, and has a scoring system to help parents understand the seriousness of their child's symptoms.
Senior doctors said the app gives detailed information to help stop parents acting on poor advice from health professionals.
It's creation comes after an NHS report into the death of one year old William Mead, who died after doctor's told his mother "not to worry" about his symptoms.
His distraught mum found him dead in his cot despite multiple visits to her GP and a call to the NHS's 111 service.
He died of sepsis - a condition where the body's immune system goes into overdrive and can reduce the blood supply to vital organs. The potentially life-threatening condition is triggered by an infection.
An NHS report found that William could still be alive if a 111 call centre worker realised how ill he was.
Baby Check developer Professor Colin Morley said that if doctors had been using the app's system they might have prevented William's death.
An 18-point list has been used by doctors for many years, and asks questions about things such as temperature, vomiting, fluid intake, and breathing. The same checklist has been been built into the Baby Check app.
Once completed the list is completed the app comes up with a score to inform whether or not the child's condition is life-threatening.
A spokesman from the Lullaby Trust charity, which has made the app available, said: "By working through a series of questions, the app helps people to decide whether to contact a doctor."
Days after the NHS released its report stating the 111 service had failed to spot life-threatening illnesses in children, one of the trust's call centre operatives was found hanged in a toilet at her place of work.
Emma Alsopp, 22, was said to be under pressure from the volume and type of calls she was handling at the hotline’s West Hub office in Exeter, Devon.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About NHS Direct:
NHS Direct is a 24 hour health advice and information service provided by the National Health Service (NHS) in England. NHS Direct provides confidential access to medical information, guidance and reassurance through a range of interactive services. These include an expert telephone advice line and detailed web resources.
About Lullaby Trust:
The Lullaby Trust (formerly FSID) is a British charitable organisation aiming to prevent unexpected deaths in infancy and promote infant health.
Published: Tuesday, February 2, 2016