Spotlight QI: Paediatrics During COVID-19

An overview of RCPCH COVID-19 resources as the UK enters a third national lockdown and health services experience unprecedented pressure.

By meganpeng · January 21, 2021

As a third national lockdown begins in January 2021, healthcare professionals are facing extreme levels of demand and intense pressure on the frontline. During the first surge in 2020, the response to COVID-19 highlighted innovative models of care and expedited systems change in the health service in a number of paediatric areas.

Case examples published on QI Central since the COVID-19 pandemic include:

  • ‘Double triage’ for GP referrals to outpatient clinics in the Isle of Wight here.
  • Paediatric cluster clinics developed within NHS Grampian here.
  • Re-opening children’s outpatient services at Great North Children’s Hospital here.
  • Virtual paediatric trainee clinics at Birmingham Children’s Hospital here.
  • Establishing community joint neonatal clinics by the Hillingdon Hospital team here.

New models of care developed before the COVID-19 pandemic have shown the importance of integrated care to support families in the community when acute paediatric health services are impacted by surges of COVID-19. These include local programmes Healthier Together in Wessex, Connecting Care for Children in London and the Ambulatory Care Experience service in Bradford.

The RCPCH COVID-19 hub has key resources for all healthcare professionals working in child health including guidance for paediatric services on staffing and rotas, advice for education and training, up-to-date research summaries and surveillance work, resources for families, and insight from children and young people through the RCPCH &Us network.

We continue to collect data and report on the wider impact of COVID-19 on paediatric services through the weekly impact reporting tool for clinical leads and British Paediatric Surveillance Unit studies on paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19 (PIMS) and neonatal complications of COVID-19.

The Public Health England Wider Impacts of COVID-19 on Health (WICH) monitoring tool allows users to explore data on the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the population’s health and wellbeing in England. The tool presents a range of health and wellbeing metrics in interactive plots that can be broken down to show differences between groups. For paediatric hospital admissions data go to the ‘Access to Care’ tab, select ‘Hospital admissions’ for theme and ‘Children and young people’ for subtheme.

Young Citizens recently hosted a panel discussion in February 2021 to discuss the impact of the pandemic on young people and how to make sure young people are at the heart of the national recovery from the pandemic – watch a video of the online event here.

RCPCH members across the UK have also recommended some useful wellbeing resources, whether at work or at home, to support the paediatrics community. Find out more via the wellbeing hub and remember to take care of yourself and each other through these difficult times.