About the Association of Paediatric Emergency Medicine
APEM is a charity affiliated to the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health, promoting excellence, training & research into Paediatric Emergency Medicine. It has an important role in setting training requirements and competencies.
Why is its role so important?
- Numerically children are 25-30% (3-4 million a year) of all UK A&E attendances
- Disease progression can be catastrophically rapid; its management may be appreciably different from related adult conditions
- Non-accidental injury may present subtley, and its proper management mandates specialist involvement
- Children's needs and that of their families are different - large issues may lie behind an apparently trivial attendance
What is most important is for the child to see the most appropriate practitioner in the most appropriate facilities.
"You need training to know what you don't know"
Since 1959 various committees and recommendations have agreed on the need for
- audio-visual separation for children in waiting & treatment areas
- minimal delays for children in A+E
- training & supervision for A+E juniors dealing with children
- liaison between Senior Paediatric & A+E staff
APEM acts to develop these areas, promoting, developing and propagating best practice. Through links with the RCPCH it has a voice in training requirements for specialists in A&E, and Paediatric A&E. It had an important role in the RCPCH convened multidisciplinary report "Accident & Emergency Services for Children". From this key recommendations were detailed:
Audiovisual separation for paediatric patients from adults
Establishing a minimum standard (on-site, in-patient paediatric facility) for units receiving children
Defining minimal acceptable RSCN & Play Therapist staffing
Mandating the recruitment of Consultants who have completed a recognised Paediatric A&E training programme
Mandating the role of the Designated Liason Paediatric Consultant
Raising the agenda of multi-disciplinary (A+E, Primary Care, Paediatric) collaboration towards service planning locally & nationally