Impact of COVID-19 on child health services tool

This project collects and reports data 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. The data were reported back regularly to support service planning, and be used as a tool to influence government and decision makers.


Phase I of this project was conducted from April to July 2020, with information collected every week for 12 weeks. You can read the full report of the findings and our letter to the editor of Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Phase II - a winter alert system - began with a snapshot questionnaire on 4 December 2020, followed by a short, ten question weekly alert system from end November 2020 to end February 2021. You can read the full report of these findings.

The aims of this second phase were:

  1. The responsible bodies in each of the UK nations are aware of the problems facing paediatric services throughout winter.
  2. Members feel listened to and supported, and are provided with a way of alerting us to issues in their service.
  3. the RCPCH captures a picture of how COVID-19 is affecting paediatric services throughout winter.

Users can continue to access the online tool to see the detailed 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 is 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.

What information did we collect?

In each phase, information about Trusts and Health Boards in the UK was collected on a weekly basis. 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 sets for both phases can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

How were responses submitted?

We asked a clinical leader to submit data about for their Trust or Health Board. This is the paediatric clinical lead in the first instance but other colleagues, such as administrative staff, can also submit data and this can 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 (eg 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