Impact of COVID-19 on child health services tool

This project collected and reported data between April and July 2020 to support child health services during the COVID-19 pandemic. We asked representatives, such as the paediatric clinical lead, to respond on behalf of their Trust or Health Board on a weekly basis. Questions related to service capacity, staffing, PPE, testing availability and child health outcomes. The data are reported back regularly to support service planning, and to be used as a tool to influence government and decision makers.

Data collection started from Friday, 17 April and continued every Friday for 12 weeks, with the last data collection taking place on Friday, 3 July. Users could submit data retrospectively until 31 July, when submissions closed.

Users can continue to access the online tool to see the findings.

Why did we conduct this project?

Child health services in the UK had to respond rapidly to the challenge of this pandemic, with no precedence or playbook. There was large variation in how services were affected, depending on local incidence rates, location and the systems they were working in.

There was a lack of data about how services were coping, what types of pressures they were under, and how things are changed over time. This information will help services assess their situation and plan next steps.

This project collected data on a weekly basis to track trends and patterns, highlight service pressures, and help identify pinch points.

The results are available to members to help to plan local services and to be used as an influencing tool with the governments across the UK.


  1. RCPCH members can use regularly reported data about the pressures and changes in child health services to help them anticipate, plan, and adapt to challenges.
  2. The RCPCH understands the pressures facing child health services during the pandemic and can support struggling areas and use the information to influence decision-makers.
  3. Services will be supported to recover to normal operating post-pandemic using the data.

What information did we collect?

Information about Trusts and Health Boards in the UK was collected every week for 12 weeks, from Friday 17 April until Friday 3 July.

Questions relate to changes in services, staffing capacity and activity due to COVID-19. We also asked users to submit examples of innovative practise in their service in response to the pandemic, or any concerns they would like to raise.

The full question set can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

How were responses submitted?

We contacted paediatric clinical leads on Wednesday 15 April to invite them to register onto the online data capture platform.

We asked a clinical leader to submit data about the past seven days for their Trust or Health Board every Friday. This was the paediatric clinical lead in the first instance. Other colleagues, such as administrative staff, could also submit data and this could change between weeks if necessary. Each person needed to register onto the online data capture platform.

We also developed a user guide to help with registration and data submission.

How do I see the data?

The data capture system features an interactive dashboard where users can see findings. If you are an RCPCH member, or have another legitimate interest in the findings (e.g. you are a researcher or child health professional) you can register to access the dashboard.

You will be asked to enter your RCPCH number (or other justification) to view the reports. Pending approval, you will be able to gain access to reports showing trends over time and individual organisation-level reporting, from those who agreed to make their data available.

Register for access to the dashboard

You can also view our top level data on this website.