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Exploring quality of health care for children

The care of children plays an important role in general practice. Children comprise approximately 20% of a general practitioner’s patient population, represent 18% of consultations, and children under 4 years have an average of 6 consultations per year with general practice. However, less than 3% of the UK general practice pay-for-performance quality markers relate to children, and professional consensus is lacking regarding which quality markers should be used.

We are involved in a stream of work examining the quality of care of children, and developing a set of quality markers for children in UK general practice:

  • We have completed a comprehensive overview of Cochrane systematic reviews identifying the high quality evidence base for interventions delivered to children in primary care.
  • We conducted qualitative interviews with general practitioners about the quality of care in general practice and areas to focus quality marker development.
  • We evaluated the trends in primary care preventable emergency admissions for children using Hospital Episodes Statistics in collaboration with the Unit of Health-Care Epidemiology in the Department of Public Health.
  • An expert panel of UK-wide general practitioners reviewed the findings and prioritised the clinical areas to focus quality marker development using the nominal group technique.
  • We are generating professional consensus in UK general practice using a modified Delphi consensus study on a final set of quality indicators representative of a range of conditions treated in UK general practice and feasible to measure.

For more information contact Anthony Harnden or Peter Gill