In 2018, RCPCH published Facing the Future: Standards for Children and Young People in Emergency Care Settings, outlining 70 standards against 12 themes that describe how care should be delivered to children and young people in emergency care settings.
Alongside this, emergency departments were given access to a self-assessment toolkit and encouraged to use this to judge how well they considered they were meeting each standard. Departments were invited to share the outcome of these self-assessments with RCPCH, and 91 responses from across the UK have been summarised.
Results show that there is scope to improve delivery of emergency care for children and young people. Results for some themes – such as safeguarding – showed many standards were widely met. But others revealed areas for improvement, most notably in support for those with mental health problems, the emergency department environment and in integrating urgent and emergency care systems.
Individual responses described the quality improvement activities that were underway to ensure more standards were met. However, just two-thirds of responses reported that performance data was collected and used to improve services locally and to benchmark nationally, so it is possible that more could be done.
As attention is turning to the important question of how to organise the recovery and restoration of health services after the COVID pandemic, the Facing the Future standards describe what is needed to ensure the delivery of high quality urgent and emergency care for children and young people.
We hope that the findings presented in this report will be useful to those involved in ongoing discussions across the system about service recovery, development, and improvement.