Bringing networks to life - a guide and resources to implement clinical networks

This report provides guidance for establishing and managing formal and informal networks within children’s health services. Evidence-based examples, tips and checklists support paediatricians seeking to develop effective networked care, with patients’ needs at the heart of delivery.


Networks are fundamental to improving the quality of paediatric care. Well managed networks of specialised and integrated care provide many benefits: cost-effectiveness, accountability, governance, individualised care pathways and sharing of expertise.

Our members shared best practice examples of effective pathway design and network development. Their experience grounds the evidence provided in this report.

Key findings

  • Implementing the network model of care provides the highest quality of care.
  • Services should be appropriately and effectively built around the needs of the child and their family.
  • Clinical networks differ at various stages of development.
  • Strong financial, governance and quality improvement frameworks are required for delivering mature networks.
  • Social care, education, public health and other agencies are encouraged within networks.
  • The pitfalls and difficulties of developing networks are established, with solutions provided.

What happens next?

Moving from ideas to reality: paediatricians can consult the checklist for their unit, locality and region to assist in developing a networked model of care.

We will provide updates, including guidance to establish and deliver networks, on this website.

If you are part of a network we want to hear your experience. Please contact the Health Policy team at