Paediatric study breaks recruitment records

A study designed to support better decision-making in children’s emergency care has broken recruitment records for 2018-19, with over 44,500 young people involved in total.

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the study was designed to support practitioners when making decisions about whether children need to be admitted to hospital or should be discharged to recover at home. It has been conducted over 12 months in three different emergency departments and an urgent care unit.

The study was carried out in partnership between the University of Salford, the University of Manchester and the University of Leicester, together with Leicester Hospitals and the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group.

It was the highest recruiting study in England for 2018-19, with 32,724 participants recruited during this time period. The large sample size means that findings can provide significant insight into which factors have the greatest impact on whether children need to be admitted to hospital or can be safely discharged.

It is also the highest ever recruiting paediatric study and third highest recruiting study of any specialty in the history of the NIHR Clinical Research Network.

Tony Long, Professor of Child & Family Health and Director of the research group CYP@Salford at the University of Salford said:

“This study highlights the importance of research partnerships between the university and the NHS, particularly the Northern Care Alliance NHS Trust, in order to improve outcomes for children and young people. It marks a determination to bring together clinicians and academics to find solutions to significant health and wellbeing problems.”

Andrew Rowland, Consultant in Paediatric Emergency Medicine at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust (part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group), and Honorary Professor at the University of Salford said:

“We’re really grateful to all the young people and their families for allowing us to use these routine observations. It is vital that children and young people are treated in the most clinically appropriate environments and that systems are in place to identify those who need to be admitted and others who could be reassured and allowed home or who could access other services.

“Although children and young people didn’t have to have any extra tests or procedures in this study, we appreciate that it can be stressful coming to hospital, so it is really fantastic that more than 44,500 children were able to help with our study.

“With so many families agreeing to share this information with us, we now have really strong evidence to feed into our guidelines. These sorts of tools and checklists are widely used in all areas of the NHS to make sure we’re consistent in our decision-making and take all factors into account.”

Steve Woby, Director of Operations: Research & Innovation (NCA), and Professor at the University of Salford, said:

“This study, and the associated programme of research, highlight the enormous benefits realised through establishing effective partnerships with our key academic partners. Research is closely linked with clinical care and these recruitment figures mean that more people than ever are being given the chance to test new medicines and to contribute to improvements in diagnosis, care and treatments.”