Join us in improving emergency and urgent care services for children
- Have you had to deal with an unwell or injured child recently?
- Did you need to get medical or other professional help or advice?
We want to work with you to find ways to increase the quality, experience and safety of children's urgent and emergency health services.
Why are you asking for my input?
Understanding more about your experiences of emergency and urgent care services for children in West Sussex will help us to design services that better meet the needs of children, young people and their families.
When your child is ill or injured, we want you to
- get the right treatment and advice
- in the best place
- at the time when you most need it
- with NHS staff working together to provide simple and consistent communication and information.
We want to be sure that children and young people recover as quickly and safely as possible and have the best experience.
You can get involved as much or as little as you want, whatever suits you.
For example, you could:
- share your story with us
- let us know your thoughts on ideas and plans as they develop
- attend short sessions on focused topics where we test out the ideas and plans
- help us develop the best ways to communicate and promote services to parents and carers.
This could involve communicating with us in a variety of ways, for example by telephone, email or face to face – again, whatever suits you.
I want to sign up
If you would like to get involved in the project or find out more, please contact Sue Pumphrey, Public Engagement Manager:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: 01903 708045.
Background to the Urgent Care Pathway project
From the moment a child falls ill, to the point when they recover, a child requiring urgent care may receive a wide range of services from a number of different health professionals.
For example, these may include:
- the local chemist (community pharmacy)
- their GP
- their local (community) nurse
- their health visitor or school nurse
- the ambulance service
- NHS Direct
- visits to a minor injury unit (MIU), urgent treatment centre (UTC) or accident & emergency (A&E) department
- being admitted to their local hospital.
Information and research has shown that by making small changes in specific areas we can improve the quality of care.
Based on this early evidence, and feedback from clinicians and patients, NHS West Sussex and the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement have set up the Urgent Care Pathway project.
The two organisations are facilitating and coordinating the project on behalf of local health organisations, such as hospitals, GPs and community teams in West Sussex and across county borders.
Understanding how people currently use emergency and urgent care services
Through this project we want to gain a better understanding of how our emergency and urgent care services work currently and how children, young people and their families use them. We want to make sure that we help children and young people recover as quickly and safely as possible and have the best experience.
Understanding self-care and choice for children and young people
We also want to understand how the NHS promotes self-care and choice for children, young people and their families.
Self-care is when parents, young people and children are confident to manage minor ailments at home as a result of having access to high quality, easy to understand information and advice from convenient sources, e.g. their local pharmacist, NHS Direct, or the Internet.
Finding new ways of working to help people access health services
People have told us that often they find it difficult to access health services, so we are working with local doctors and nurses, children, young people and their families to find new ways of working.
This may mean providing safe care in a community setting that is closer to home or it may mean providing more information, advice and support to children, young people and their families so they can make informed choices about their care when they become ill suddenly or unexpectedly.
Where we are now?
Much work has been going on behind the scenes to gather information and research from a variety of sources, including clinical data and information from visits to hospitals and community locations.
The evidence gathered will help us to focus on areas where we can improve quality and efficiency by working in a different way.
The project team is compiling a series of reports which aim to document the key milestones:
- The first report outlines the project plan.
- The second compiles the evidence.
- The next report will describe in more detail the options and solutions which will have been tested further locally.
Documents are available to download on the right-hand side of this page.
Some of the headlines so far show:
- The urgent care needs of our children and their families could be better met.
- Access to services is confusing and often problematic.
- The system encourages people to attend emergency departments, which may lead to inappropriate admission to hospital. This is a ‘system’ problem, not the fault of individuals or single organisations.
- Parents want faster routes – with fewer contacts – for the sickest children to be seen by somebody confident and competent to make decisions first time.
- Parents end up accessing many different organisations and clinicians during the same episode, resulting in parents and children receiving inconsistent advice.
- Parents’ preference is for initial advice from their GP. If appropriate and consistent advice and support is given to families, their experience improves and demand for care reduces.
- More than half the total A&E attendances take place between 2pm and 8pm.
- Most (about 75%) of children’s emergency admissions have a length of stay less than two days. A significant number of these children could be cared for in alternative settings closer to home.
- Short stay unplanned hospital admission rates in young children have increased substantially over the last ten years.
- The 0-4 year old age group forms a large proportion (50%) of the children’s activity along the pathway.
Who is involved in the project?
The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement is supporting the project, helping us to engage local clinicians and organisations.
We now have a local network of health staff actively advising and supporting the project. This includes hospital paediatricians, ambulance staff, community health professionals such as doctors, GPs, nurses and health visitors.
Members of the Network attended a workshop on 14 October 2010 where they focused on how the different organisations and staff could work together to make the system, experience and communication better for patients.
This was the first in a series of workshops and future events will be targeted at parents and carers.