Survey seeking views on a potential change to the way appendicectomies for children under the age of 8 is provided in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw is launched

Thursday 20th February 2020

Survey seeking views on a potential change to the way appendicectomies for children under the age of 8 is provided in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw is launched

Over the last few years work has been taking place in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, across all of the hospitals, to make sure the children’s surgery that takes place is safe and can remain safe in the future when faced with the many things that change healthcare delivery, such as new technologies and staffing numbers. If you would like to read more about this work you can on our website here.

This work has overwhelmingly found that the majority of children’s surgery can continue to be delivered as it currently is in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw’s hospitals.

However, surgery for abdomens (tummies) is complex and the recommendation from all the doctors and nurses who have looked at this, is that a change should be made to the treatment of appendicitis in children under the age of 8, or if the care of the child is likely to have some clearly identified complexities (for example if the child has another complicated medical or surgical condition at the same time as appendicitis).

The number of appendicectomies (surgery to remove the appendix) undertaken in South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw each year on children under 8, or with significant complexities, is very small.

Children under 8 are not 'small adults' and clinicians believe that if children need an appendicectomy, it is better and safer for them to be seen by a surgeon who is trained to, and regularly operates on, young children.

The majority of appendicectomies are not time-critical, meaning they do not need to be carried out within hours of diagnosis. Children who need an appendicectomy can be safely moved.

Therefore the proposal is for children aged under 8, and for children with complex needs, appendicectomies should be conducted at Sheffield Children’s Hospital. This would affect around 40 children a year.

All other appendicectomies on children aged 8 and above would continue to be performed in all of the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw hospitals where they are currently performed (this would continue to exclude Bassetlaw Hospital, which does not carry out this surgery on children).

In the very rare case of a time-critical emergency, such as a burst appendix (rather than appendicitis), the procedure would be likely to be carried out in the hospital where the child had first arrived.

The length of stay in hospital for a child undergoing an appendicectomy is between two and four days, depending on how complex it is. Sheffield Children’s Hospital has facilities for one family member to stay with the child overnight.

If you would like to have your say on this proposal please visit our survey here

For more information on Appendicitis SymptomsDiagnosisTreatmentComplications visit the nhs.uk Appendicitis page here

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