What is the BPSU?

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Rare diseases and infections are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in childhood.

Although individually uncommon, together they number in the thousands. These conditions pose large emotional and financial burdens for affected children, their families and health systems.

The British Paediatric Surveillance Unit (BPSU) lessens the burden on reporting doctors of receiving requests from numerous different sources for reporting cases of rare disorders.

The Unit is supported in all of its activities by contributions from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), Public Health England (PHE) and the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (ICH) and is supported by GOSH Children's Charity. These webpages are maintained by the BPSU Scientific Coordinator. The content of these pages is at the discretion of the BPSU Scientific Coordinator and BPSU Scientific Committee and is intended to further the educational knowledge and awareness of rare disorders.

BPSU webpages do not host any form of advertisement.

The BPSU aims to encourage and support:

  • surveillance of rare disorders
  • awareness of rare disorders among clinicians and the public as outlined in the Unit's Communication Strategy (PDF, 414KB).
  • a rapid response to public health emergencies
  • improvement in prevention, treatment and service planning for rare disorders
  • public and patient involvement in research
  • international surveillance of rare disease.

The BPSU enables paediatricians to:

  • participate in the nationwide surveillance of infections and infection related conditions
  • promote the study of rare childhood disorders
  • provide a mechanism by which 'new' diseases can be detected so that early investigation can take place.

Key achievements include:

  • initiated over 90 studies
  • collected information on over 25,000 cases
  • published and presented over 300 papers
  • held several scientific symposia
  • encouraged links with parent support groups
  • encouraged the development of similar specialty units with in the UK and abroad.

More information

Partners and structure

How the unit works

International activities

Research using health records