Networks for children's health services

Silver balls connected by silver wires - representing a network

More information about networks for children's health services and working across boundaries, and some examples of effective joint working in particular specialities.

As health policy across the UK increasingly looks to supporting new models of service planning across clinical and geographical boundaries, it is important that the benefits of integration, networks of care and partnership working are exploited to deliver high quality care to children according to their needs.


If you are part of a new network we would love to hear about your experiences - contact the Health Policy team on

Strategic clinical networks

In July 2012, the Department of Health announced that from 2013 there will be four strategic clinical networks across England. Alongside networks for cancer, cardiovascular disease and mental health, dementia and neurological disease, there is a maternity and children’s network.

RCPCH President (April 2012 - April 2015) Dr Hilary Cass commented: 'I’m delighted to see children's health acknowledged as a key priority - and for the first time a dedicated network will be in place to promote a culture of integrated care across 12 geographical areas. This will go a long way to helping ensure healthcare for children is as responsive as it can be.“

The Way Forward: Strategic Clinical Networks (PDF)


Bringing networks to life (March 2012)

In parallel with work by the NHS Commissioning Board in England on the development of managed clinical networks, the College launched a guide to establishing and managing successful networks for children’s health services across the UK. 

This document aims to 'make the case' for development and maintenance of formal and informal paediatric networks across a range of specialties. It sets out the rationale and benefits and provides evidence based examples, tips and checklists to ensure that development of new networks benefits from the lessons of others, and successful models are promoted for others to emulate where appropriate.

We hope that you will find the document useful in your work and that the specific needs of children and young people are prioritised when designing and improving specialist services across the NHS.

Bringing Networks to Life (PDF, 480 KB, 38 pages)

Clinical lead job description (PDF, 37KB, 7 pages)

Guidance on paediatric nephrology networks

In collaboration with NHS KidneyCare and the British Association of Paediatric Nephrology, the College published a report on paediatric nephrology networks, setting out the core requirements for success and standards for commissioning and provision of services.

Built on existing good practice and evidence, the review examines access to services, patient and carer involvement, quality indicators, audit and workforce planning.  This document has particular relevance in the light of the current NHS reforms in England, and the acknowledgement by the government of the importance of clinical networks for specialist care.

Guidance on Paediatric Nephrology Networks (PDF,1MB,48 pages)

Teams without walls

This report, produced by RCP, RCGP and RCPCH (2008), explores the concept of 'teams without walls' whereby professionals from primary and secondary care work across traditional health boundaries to deliver care that puts the patient first.

Teams Without Walls: Working Together Will Improve Patient Care (PDF, 118KB, 15pages)

Further guidance

Networks in the New NHS - a presentation by Dr Carol Ewing, RCPCH Workforce Officer (June 2011)

The Information Revolution, an Informatics for quality presentation by Dr David Low, Chair of the Informatics Committee at the RCPCH Annual Conference 2011

A Guide to Understanding Networks and Pathways (PDF) - outlines the theory and practical application of pathway and networks

Old Problems New Solutions (PDF) - outlines RCPCH research into how NHS services were responding to the needs of children and describes a range of children's services that have developed in recent years

Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland - contains details of current Anaesthetic networks within the UK and Ireland