Changing Child Healthcare
To help our health system and parents everywhere
By Dr. Fathima Mahomed
Dr. Fathima Mahomed is a specialist Paediatrician with 24 years experience working in child health. As well as being a Consultant General Paediatrician at The Portland Hospital in Central London, she has also taken an unpaid role at NHS 111. Prior to this, she has 10 years of NHS Consultant experience and trained in London.
I come from a very big family of medics and I was the rebel who wanted to become an accountant. My GCSEs were all on the commercial side: marketing, accounting, economics and business. But by the end of my GCSEs, although I did very well, I was bored out of my mind. I went to my dad and told him, “Dad, you were right, I am really bored. I don’t know what to do.” And then he said, “I told you, you don’t have the mind of an accountant. You are a doctor.” So for my A-levels, I started doing sciences and then the rest is history – I became a doctor. Coming from a very big family with a lot of children, lots of cousins, lots of aunts and uncles, I think Paediatrics is just something I was always going to end up in.
Even after being a specialist Paediatrician for nearly twenty five years, I still find that the main complaint I get from patients is, “People don’t listen to me, doctor”. One of the reasons parents consult doctors is because they need a listening ear, reassurance and help. Most parents are grateful that their concerns are being listened to. Even if their child is completely well, as Paediatricians, we need to be there for them. They just need to hear that their child is OK. That’s what we all want to hear. Parents are rarely wrong.
Juno is definitely the way forward for anxious parents and children.
But in the UK, the reality is that it’s really difficult to access a Paediatrician because of our health system. Paediatrics is undersubscribed and specialists are usually locked away until there’s an emergency or if somebody pays really large amounts of money to see them privately. But that’s where Juno comes in.
There are so many aspects of Juno that are amazing to me. The fact that you have got somebody quite senior who will listen and give you an answer to your anxiety very quickly, is excellent. Parents can finally say, “You know what? I don’t need to wait six hours until somebody answers this email or to get an appointment”. That is what the whole app is about. As a Paediatrician, you can either say their concern is nothing to worry about, or if they need it, recommend they go to a face-to-face appointment with a GP, urgent care or to a hospital A&E department. There are not always Paediatricians or somebody who understands child health in every A&E, so Juno is definitely the way forward for anxious parents and children. If the child is not incredibly unwell and doesn’t need to see a doctor – Juno is the perfect antidote. Those parents will get a response and reassurance in minutes.
In life, change is one of the only constants we have. Everything will change. Juno seems to be the way forward and we should allow it to change child healthcare and the world for the better.