Red Box Patient System

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This leaflet is about the Milton Keynes Hospital Paediatric Red Box Patient System.

Please ask your child’s doctor/ nurse to complete this section:

Child’s name: _________________ has been put onto the red box system because:



What is the Red Box Patient System?

Many children with specific medical conditions/needs often require ongoing hospital care. The Red Box Service was created to ensure that these children are able to access the Milton Keynes Hospital Paediatric Department directly without having to get a referral from their GP or A & E first. We recognise that continuity of care is crucial therefore the Paediatric department at Milton Keynes Hospital keeps secure but easily accessible details of all children on the Red Box Service. This information can be accessed by the nurses and doctors at any time of the day and night. The aim is that these children will receive timely, co-ordinated, high quality care promoting minimal disruption to their daily lives.

When would we use the Red Box System?

If you have a concern about your child that relates to or impacts on their specific condition/need that put them onto the Red Box system.

When would we not use the Red Box System?

The red box system is primarily there for your child’s specific condition/need. Therefore, for all other concerns regarding your child we recommend you take your child to their GP/ A & E. For example:

  • If your child is on the Red Box System because they have severe asthma and they have a tummy bug we recommend you contact your child’s GP or
  • If your child is on the Red Box System because they have severe asthma and they have broken their arm, please take them to A & E. or
  • If your child is seriously unwell, you should go to A & E for assessment and emergency treatment. or
  • For children with Sickle cell disease, please ring Paediatric Assessment Unit (PAU) and speak to a Doctor or Nurse, as it can affect any part of the body. Most often, children with Sickle cell disease will have to be seen in PAU, except when the child is extremely unwell in which case, they will have to be seen by the paediatric doctors in the Emergency department area rather than in PAU.

However, if you are ever unsure as to whether you should use the Red Box System or go to your child’s GP/ A & E, please do not hesitate to phone the nurse/doctors on the PAU for advice.

How do we access the Red Box System?

Please phone the Paediatric Assessment unit (PAU) on 01908 996367,01908 996368 They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When calling, please tell us that your child is a Red Box patient, along with their name, date of birth and if you know it their hospital (MRN) number. These details just make it easier to access your child’s information quickly.

One of the nurses or doctors will speak to you and either provide advice over the phone or ask you to bring your child to PAU for an assessment. Sometimes the doctors/nurses may advise you to phone an ambulance, or to come in via A&E. This would only be because they feel your child is at immediate risk and needs urgent assessment. If this was to happen, the Paediatric team would see you and your child in A & E to ensure continuity of care.

Sometimes the nurses/doctors may ask you to bring your child for assessment to Ward 5 (the Paediatric inpatient unit) instead of PAU. This does not mean that your child will be admitted, it is usually because PAU is full or closed.

Your child may also be allocated a Community/Specialist Nurse who you can also phone. They can provide advice over the phone and can also advise you to come to PAU. If they have been allocated to your child, they will have given you their number. If you are ever unable to get through to PAU, please contact Ward 5 (the children’s inpatient unit) on 01908 996377.

Where is PAU?

PAU is based on ward 4 on the ground floor of the main hospital. It is next door to ward 5 (the children’s inpatient unit). When you arrive, please press the intercom.

Do we need to bring anything to PAU?

Please bring any medications that your child is taking. It is also advisable to bring an overnight bag with some night clothes, toiletries, nappies etc in case of possible admission.

What happens when we get to PAU?

A nurse will assess your child and then your child will be seen by a doctor. A plan will then be made with you about your child’s care. Sometimes your child will just be seen by a nurse, for example if they have come in for a specific procedure such as needing a new nasogastric tube inserted etc. The department can be very busy and the children are seen in order of clinical priority.

If my child needs to be admitted where will they go?

They will be admitted to ward 5 (the children’s inpatient wards) which is next door to PAU.

Does my child still need a GP if they are in the Red Box Service?

Yes, it is important that your child does still have a GP. The paediatric team at Milton Keynes Hospital will work closely with your child’s GP and any other health and social care professionals involved in your child’s well being to ensure that all your child’s needs are met and coordinated effectively. As mentioned earlier your child’s GP can be an ideal resource to talk about other childhood concerns not relating to your child’s specific medical need/condition. If your child is prescribed any medication from their Paediatric Consultant, they will need to get ongoing supplies from their GP.

How long will my child be on the Red Box Service?

This is individual to all children and is reviewed regularly by your child’s named Paediatric Consultant. You, as parents/carers will of course be involved in any decisions regarding your child’s care.

Can other children in my family use the Red Box Service?

Unfortunately, this service is just for your child who was originally put onto the Red Box Service. However, other children in your family can be seen in the Paediatric Department following a referral from their GP if felt appropriate. We hope this leaflet has been helpful if you have any further questions, concerns please do not hesitate to speak to any of the doctors/nurses in the Paediatric Department.

We ask for information about you so that you can receive proper care and treatment. This information remains confidential and is stored securely by the Trust in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 2018/GDPR. Further guidance can be found within our privacy notice on our Trust website at