Skip to content Back to top

Children and Young People

The information on this page is designed to support children, young people, their parents, and carers whilst they are waiting for hospital treatment. You will find information on what you can do to help prepare your child for surgery, how to look after their physical and mental health and what to do if you need any extra support.

Hospitals in Greater Manchester are working together to get through the waiting list backlog as quickly as possible. If your child is eligible, you may be contacted and offered the chance for them to have their treatment sooner at another hospital. If you do get offered this, we would strongly recommend you take this up if you can.

The hospital team will be keen to understand your personal circumstances, answer any questions and look at how they may be able to support you to attend. They will also look to see if you are eligible for patient transport if this is needed.

Helping babies and young children when they are poorly

The Little Orange Book was produced by NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group with help from GPs, Health Visitors, Practice Managers and Staff, Pharmacists, Paediatricians, Children’s Nurses and Parents and Carers.

It contains advice and tips on how to manage common illnesses and problems that babies and young children often experience in the first 5 years of their lives. It also has information on more serious conditions, what to look out for and how to get help.

Download a copy of The Little Orange Book.

Managing pain

If your child is waiting for surgery, they may experience pain or discomfort. The first line of treatment is pain relief that you can buy over the counter. Your local pharmacy can provide advice on what medication is best for your child, frequency and the dose.

“By the clock, by the mouth, by the ladder”

It is important to follow the 3 main World Health Organisation (WHO) pain relief ladder principals:

By the clock: To maintain freedom from pain, drugs should be given “by the clock” or “around the clock” rather than only “on demand”. This means they are given on a regularly scheduled basis.

By the mouth: Giving the pain relief via the mouth (orally) is usually preferred. However, it may not be possible for children if they are vomiting or unable to take anything by mouth.

By the ladder: If pain occurs there should be prompt administration of pain relief. At home you should give pain relief such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen first unless there is a medical reason not to. If your child is still in pain after this step or you are concerned, you should seek medical advice.

If you are concerned about your child’s condition, please contact your GP, NHS 111, the dentist, or the hospital department they have been referred to. If something changes, the hospital will review how urgent your child’s condition is and re prioritise them if necessary.


Sepsis is the most common avoidable cause of death in the UK. Recognising and treating sepsis in the first hour saves lives.

You will know when your child is unwell. Sepsis can be very hard to identify as many as it’s signs are also common in routine childhood illnesses. It’s important to trust your instincts. If your child seems sicker than usual or something just doesn’t seem right, call your GP, NHS 111 or seek urgent medical help.

30% of children attending the Emergency Department (A&E) have a fever but only 1% will have sepsis.

Sepsis is more common in those who have a higher chance of getting an infection in the first place, such as:

  • Babies under 3 months; this is also called neonatal sepsis.
  • People who just had surgery.
  • Those whose immune systems are weakened from conditions such as HIV, cancer or transplants.

You can help protect your child from infection:

  1. Get your children immunized on the recommended schedule. Routine vaccines help prevent bacteria and viruses from causing infections that can lead to sepsis.
  2. Encourage regular hand washing.
  3. Clean any cuts or scrapes well. Keep a close eye on them to be sure they’re healing as expected.
  4. If your child has a medical device (like a catheter or long-term IV line), follow the doctor’s directions for cleaning and using it.
  5. If your child is sick and is not getting better, call your doctor or get medical care. If your child is prescribed antibiotics, give all doses exactly as directed.

For more information about sepsis:

NHS England information about sepsis.

Mental health support

We know things may be difficult for your child while they are waiting to have their treatment. There is support available if they are feeling anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed.

SHOUT is a free text and online support service

With this 24/7 crisis text messaging service, you can send a text message any time of day or night wherever you are – every conversation is with a real person. Just text SHOUT to 85258. You don’t need an app or data and there is no registration process. It is silent and won’t appear on your phone bill.  It is confidential and anonymous.

Living Life to the Full

This programme has resources to help you improve feelings, beat stress, sleep better, and to boost your ability to live well. It provides key information using everyday, non-complex language and is available on the go or at home 24/7. There is a dedicated module for people living with a long term conditions.


Silvercloud is available for people aged 16+. These online programmes help ease your levels of stress, sleep better or build resilience. You can choose to use any of the programmes. They are self-help, confidential and secure.


Kooth is a free text and online support resource for children and young people aged 11 to 18 years. Chat to their friendly counsellors, read articles written by young people, and get support from the Kooth community.

Hopeline UK

Are you, or is a young person you know, not coping with life?

For confidential suicide prevention advice, contact Hopeline UK. They are open 24 hours every day of the year (including weekends and bank holidays).

Call: 0800 068 4141

Text: 07860039967


Preparing for admission

As a parent or carer, one of the most important preparations for admission is for you to understand as much as possible about the planned surgery so that you can confidently prepare your child.

If you feel that you need to know more, you can contact the Specialist Nurse or Lead Clinician who will help you find the answers to your questions.

For more complex procedures, try to understand what possible complications there could be and whether there is any likelihood of further trips to theatres after the initial surgery.

Some hospitals offer pre-admission preparation which can include a specific pre-admission clinic or chance to meet one of the surgeons. This is a good opportunity to get more information, ask questions and get familiar with the environment.

You may feel that you don’t need to see the ward, theatres, or the intensive care unit yourself but remember that your child may have been a baby at their last admission. A visit could help to allay any fears or worries.

There are several resources out there that can help you prepare your child for surgery. You may find the following books useful:

  • “I don’t want to go to hospital” by Tony Ross.
  • “Going to the hospital” by Usborne First Experiences.
  • “My first visit to hospital” by Rebecca Hunter.
  • “Talking it through – Hospital” by Althea.

You may find the following website useful:

If you can, talk to other parents about the procedure your child is due to have and try to find out how their child responded to the procedure. Every child is different but talking to other parents can be useful to help you anticipate what is to come.

It is important to plan your time away from work if relevant. You could make an appointment to see your manager to explain what is planned and give them an idea of how much time you might need away from work. It might also be helpful to discuss the admission with your GP.

What you may be unprepared for is how off you may feel after your child’s surgery.  You need to think about the support you may need as well. You’ll have prepared for the hospital stay and invested a great deal of emotional energy to get through it. Once it’s over instead of feeling relief it can be normal to feel low or depressed. Be gentle with yourself and if possible, plan to have some ‘recovery time’ for yourself. Perhaps a holiday or some support from family and friends.

Children’s dental surgery

You’ll find useful information on this page if your child is waiting for dental surgery. This includes links to resources to help your child look after their teeth and what you should do if their teeth get worse.

More information

Children’s ear, nose and throat (ENT)

You’ll find useful information on this page if your child is waiting for an ENT procedure. This includes links to resources that will help and what you should do if your child’s ENT condition gets worse.

More information

Children’s urology

You’ll find useful information on this page if your child is waiting for urology surgery. This includes links to information to help look after your child and what to do if their condition gets worse.

More information

Last Updated: 12 April 2024

Launch Recite Me assistive technology