Use of primary care and hospital services in children aged less than 15 years in England; descriptive study

Date of ISAC Approval: 
11/06/2018
Lay Summary: 
Children's visits to GPs, emergency departments and hospital admissions are rising. However, little is known about how these trends have progressed over the past decade since major primary care reforms in 2004 that that may have affected children's access to GPs. We aim to describe how children's GP consulting patterns and use of urgent and planned hospital care has evolved in the UK over the last 10 years from 2007 to 2017. We will also explore how different groups of children use the health service. For example how use of health services differs across the age groups from 0-15 years, those living in areas that are less affluent and children from different ethnic groups. Results will be useful to understand the current state of healthcare use by children and improve resource allocation within the NHS to meet needs of children and families in England.
Technical Summary: 
Children are high impact users of health services and rising visits to GPs, emergency departments and hospital admissions in the United Kingdom (UK) placing the National Health Service (NHS) under increasing pressure. Little is known about how consultation rates in primary care and hospital services have changed since major reforms in primary care that may have affected children's access to GPs or which children are most likely to use primary care and hospital services. We aim to describe how children's GP consulting patterns and use of urgent and planned hospital care has evolved in the UK over the last 10 years from 2007 to 2017. We will examine trends in rates of GP consultation, prescribing, outpatient attendances, emergency department visits, elective and unplanned hospital admissions in children aged less than 15 for calendar years from 2007 to 2017. We will stratify the rates calculated above by developmental age bands, ethnic group and groups living in different areas of deprivation. The findings will report on the current state of healthcare use by children under 15 and may be useful to inform resource allocation within the NHS to meet needs of children and families in England.
Health Outcomes to be Measured: 
Primary outcome - Rates of GP consultations per child per year Secondary outcomes - Rates of emergency department visits per child per year - Rates of elective hospital admissions per child per year - Rates of unplanned hospital admissions per child per year - Rates of prescriptions per child per year - Rates of outpatient hospital attendances per child per year
Collaborators: 

Professor Sonia Saxena - Chief Investigator - Imperial College London
Alex Bottle - Collaborator - Imperial College London
Elizabeth Cecil - Collaborator - Imperial College London
Dr Geva Greenfield - Collaborator - Imperial College London
Miss Judith Ruzangi - Corresponding Applicant - Imperial College London
Professor Mitch Blair - Collaborator - Imperial College London

Linkages: 
HES A&E;HES Admitted;HES Outpatient;ONS;Patient IMD;Practice IMD (Standard)