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There’s discontent among staff working with CYP across the UK. This stems from widely accepted problems relating to the quality of care that we’re currently offering children, including childhood poverty, staffing pressures and inadequate service design. To top this off, there’s increasing frustration at the lack of strategy to rectify the somewhat disheartening statistics.

Running Horse Group Event

In 2011, The Running Horse Group (RHG) was set up and led by Dr Damian Roland, aiming to tackle some of these frustrations. The idea was to connect an informal group of enthusiastic and passionate pediatricians, focused on sharing innovation and improvement amid increasing service and system pressures. This early community wanted to improve the status quo, and make health care for children better for patients, their families and health practitioners. A strapline was created:

Inspiring the child health workforce to deliver high quality care that delights children and families

Individually, the RHG members have had tremendous success leading QI projects across the UK. Yet sharing this knowledge remains a challenge, so the event concept on the 25 May was simple – bring RHG members (and anyone else) interested in making a difference to child health in the UK together to share improvement ideas and experiences.

What did we do?

The afternoon kicked off with a presentation from Dr Claire Lemer about the identifiable pressure points on the current pediatric service. Attendees then set about expanding on this list, creating a matrix of problem areas they find challenging to address.

Using these as the building blocks for the afternoon, we explored current projects attendees were involved in, identifying the barriers and enablers to the work and sharing learning from their work.

Two key project themes emerged from the discussions as being significant areas for improvement:

  • Staff morale/workforce retention
  • New models of care

Problems such as ethics and prevention are difficult to tackle with QI projects by frontline staff and were identified as requiring a more joined-up approach supported by national strategy.

What was valued?

Feedback from the event has been extremely positive. Firstly, it was exciting having a group of motivated and enthusiastic people in the same room to bounce ideas off each other. Apart from medical conferences, there’s little opportunity to share projects and experiences in person. The event highlighted there is significant value in facilitating face-to-face sessions.

Apart from medical conferences, there’s little opportunity to share projects and experiences in person. The event highlighted there is significant value in facilitating face-to-face sessions.

Crucially, this wasn’t an event for pediatricians thinking about CYP, but for all health professionals passionate about making a difference for CYP. It was a true melting-pot of ideas and viewpoints that made the event that bit more exciting.

Finally, it was brilliant to have the likes of Claire Lemer, Ronnie Cheung and Dougal Hargreaves in the room, who have an excellent national-level, strategic understanding of paediatric services. We should be celebrating the opportunities to bring the varied background of professionals, each with their own experience and knowledge of health care for CYP together in a unifying community.

What next?

Gathering such a vibrant and interesting group of health care professionals to discuss the direction of paediatric care was hugely valued, but this needs to be developed into more than just an ad-hoc event. How can we create a network that’s accessible for all professionals dedicated to improving CYP care?

For a start, there needs to be a robust infrastructure to a CYP network, and importantly, that includes a suitable online forum. Whilst regular meetings are highly valued, sharing learning via an online CYP forum will help gather momentum within the community, especially as members are from across the UK. Secondly, we need to invite anyone interested in improving health for CYP to join. The wider the professional background, the better.

The solution

Our plan is to set up a child health special interest group within Q. This will provide improved online infrastructure and network presence via the Q community, as well as wider access to potential child health SIG members. Current Running Horse Group members can still access the community via the Q SIG online portal.

There is a huge wealth of expertise and capability within pediatric services and this is an opportunity to create a grass-roots movement to address key problems in CYP services.

We want members of the SIG to share their experience of how they’ve obtained local buy-in for CYP projects, and discuss their learning along the way. There is a huge wealth of expertise and capability within pediatric services and this is an opportunity to create a grass-roots movement to address key problems in CYP services.

How can you get involved?

The group will be co-hosted by Damian Roland and Susannah Pye. To have access to the group you’ll need to register your interest on the Running Horse Group SIG webpage. If you’re not yet a Q member, you can still have access to the SIG by registering interest.

We’ll be populating the platform with information from the most recent RHG event including projects presented by members. If you have any questions about the child health SIG in the meantime – don’t hesitate to get in contact.

Damian Roland @Damian_Roland
Susannah Pye @ susannah_pye

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