Facing the Future Together for Child Health

Facing the Future Together for Child Health is a new set of standards, developed jointly by the RCPCH, the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

It builds on the Facing the Future: Standards for Acute General Paediatric Services, expanding them to acute care outside the hospital. The standards apply across the unscheduled care pathway and aim to improve health care and outcomes for children and young people with acute illness.

Facing the Future Audit 2017

This summer the RCPCH is auditing the Together for Child Health standards. If your hospital has not received an invitation to join the audit, or if you would like to share practice examples where you are meeting standards particularly well, please contact us via facingthefuture@rcpch.ac.uk. The deadline for data collection is Monday 10th July 2017.

On this page:


Download the standards:
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Facing the Future Together for Child Health 2015 (PDF, 698KB, 50 pages)

The standards aim to ensure there is always high quality diagnosis and care early in the unscheduled pathway and to reduce unnecessary attendances at the emergency department and admissions to hospital by providing care closer to home.

The standards will bring specialist child health expertise directly into general practice where the needs of the child or young person are known and build connections between primary and secondary care.

There are three overarching principles and eleven standards: 

  • Standards one to six - These focus on supporting primary care to safely care for the child or young person in the community, preventing unnecessary attendance at an emergency department or unnecessary admission to hospital.
  • Standards five to eight - Of course it will be necessary for some children and young people to be cared for in hospital, and these standards focus on reducing the length of stay and enabling these children and young people to go home again as safely and as quickly as possible.
  • Standards nine to eleven - These look more widely at connecting the whole system, streamlining the patient journey and improving the patient experience.

Implementation of the standards

Facing the Future Together for Child Health Implementation Plan (PDF, 125KB, 3 pages)

The Colleges have jointly developed an implementation plan to support the implementation of the standards across the UK by: 

  • supporting and equipping members across the three Colleges with the information and skills to influence at a local level
  • supporting services to implement the standards
  • continuing discussions and negotiation between the Colleges and key stakeholders at a national policy level
  • ensuring children and young people and their parents and carers know the quality of care they can expect and helping to change behaviours.

Practice examples

To learn more about how the standards work in practise, read through a selection of practice examples intended to illustrate a range of ways in which the Standards are already being implemented. Or, listen to presentations by child health professionals from the College and NHS England which were recorded at ou best practice event held in November 2016. The presentations focus on the challenges and successes of implementing the standards.

 Workforce implications

Facing the Future Together for Child Health - Workforce Implications (PDF, 328KB, 5 pages)

       The Colleges plan to audit against the standards in 2016/17.


A SurveyMonkey questionnaire was sent to all children's clinical directors across the UK in order to ascertain what interventions by paediatricians and other child health specialists are already in use to improve outcomes for children and young people with acute illness presenting in the urgent care pathway. 

To complement and triangulate the results from the survey of paediatric clinical directors, a similar survey was developed for General Practitioners (GPs) via Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and for Community Children’s Nursing Teams (CCNTs) via the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Summaries of results


Community children's nursing: challenges and opportunities - Royal College of Nursing (RCN) guidance was written for professionals, providers, service planners and commissioners involved in developing and designing health services for children and young people (CYP). It sets out the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) perspective of contemporary children’s and young people’s nursing services in primary and community settings and the crucial role community children’s nursing (CCN) performs as the bedrock of integrated care closer to home.



For more details, please contact Isobel Howe on 0207 092 6095 or email facingthefuture@rcpch.ac.uk