The number of people arriving at Accident and Emergency departments throughout the UK is rising at an unsustainable rate, and the number of children arriving at A&E has grown every year since 2003, causing a large amount of strain on these departments.
It is thought that a lack of experience among parents and junior doctors could be contributing to the large rises in paediatric hospital admissions, as well as changes in the way primary care is delivered. Previous approaches to reduce paediatric admissions have mainly focused on the prevention of arrivals at A&E and reducing the chances of them returning, yet there is little evidence for what works best.
However, a new PenCLAHRC project is helping to tackle this problem by bringing together hospitals from across the South West region and analysing factors that could be responsible for the rise in paediatric admissions.
By partnering with the South West Strategic Clinical Network and working alongside 14 NHS Trusts, the research team have been able to map each of the different approaches to paediatric care taking place across the region, enabling them to develop a robust picture of what interventions are most effective.
The team are also conducting in depth interviews with paediatric consultants at each NHS Trust. These interviews provide vital insights into the processes that are currently in place, as well as delivering a rare opportunity for each Trust to visualise its own care pathway.
PenCLAHRC Research Fellow, Dr Kerryn Husk, who has been working on the project said:
“We wanted this study to capture a comprehensive picture of paediatric acute care across all of the South West. Having all 14 NHS Trusts on board is giving us an unparalleled insight into the different approaches being used and we’re really excited to start processing our results.”
With pilot data already collected and analysed, the team are hoping their insights will eventually form the basis for guidance that can be implemented across the UK.