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There is a national trend1 of increasing paediatric emergency department (PED) attendances by children. The causes for this are unclear and may be attributable to a number of factors, such as changes in work patterns in primary care.2 A prospective questionnaire of children presenting to the PED in Edinburgh with minor illness found that 77% had taken advice and 48% had contacted a general practitioner (GP) prior to attendance.3 Our impression was that this was not reflected in our very diverse population in Tooting, with a 27.6% ethnic minority background as reported at the 2001 census.
We designed a questionnaire asking parents bringing children to the PED, structured questions …
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