New tool for measuring children’s experiences in emergency settings launches

Unique tool designed 'by children, for children'

Over a quarter of patient attendances in urgent and emergency care settings – from GPs same-day visits and ambulance calls to A&E arrivals – are 0-16 years olds, yet up to now, measuring their experiences has largely been through surveys of their parents.

Launching today, a new tool to measure the patient’s reported experience, designed ‘by children, for children’, will capture the views of young patients to help Emergency Departments, GP surgeries, Walk-in/Urgent Care Centres and the Ambulance Service identify what’s working well and areas for improvement.

Developed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) with the Picker Institute Europe, the new patient measure tool will ask children about their waiting times, how well doctors explained what was happening, how they were looked after by staff and whether there were age-appropriate facilities available.

Dr Hilary Cass, President of the RCPCH, said:

'It’s one thing asking parents how they felt their children were cared for – but it’s also important to know how children themselves found it.  Many paediatric patient surveys that currently exist have been developed by adults with little or no input from children and young people.  Only by knowing what children want can we design services that best meet their needs.'

Dr Ffion Davies, clinical lead for the project, said:

'This survey has been piloted “in the real world” and works, even in these busy and sometimes stressful settings. Sometimes children point out things which can be so simple to improve. We hope staff will use the results to make their service more child-friendly. Child-friendly care makes for more accurate diagnoses, and less fear in the future if the child gets ill or injured again.'

Three different versions of the tool are available, tailored to the different emergency settings.  In addition, there is:

  • A version is to be completed with parental assistance for patients up to seven years (0-7 years)
  • Another to be completed by the child (8-16 years)

In Emergency Departments, patient experience is one of the 8 Clinical Quality Indicators that are submitted to the Department of Health and benchmarked nationally. 

Guidance is also available on the websites to help centres implement the survey, giving top tips on how to get surveys filled in, and help with data analysis.  

A final version is available here: Urgent and Emergency Care PREMS