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Open Access Research article

Avoiding inappropriate paediatric admission: facilitating General Practitioner referral to Community Children’s Nursing Teams

Richard G Kyle1*, Michele Banks2, Susan Kirk2, Peter Powell3 and Peter Callery2

Author Affiliations

1 School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, University of Stirling (Highland Campus), Centre for Health Science, Old Perth Road, Inverness IV2 3JH, UK

2 School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, The University of Manchester, Manchester Academic Health Science Centre, Jean McFarlane Building, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL, UK

3 West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 2QZ, UK

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BMC Family Practice 2013, 14:4  doi:10.1186/1471-2296-14-4

Published: 5 January 2013

Abstract

Background

Children’s emergency admissions in England are increasing. Community Children’s Nursing Teams (CCNTs) have developed services to manage acutely ill children at home to reduce demand for unscheduled care. Referral between General Practitioners (GPs) and CCNTs may reduce avoidable admissions and minimise the psychosocial and financial impact of hospitalisation on children, families and the NHS. However, facilitators of GP referral to CCNTs are not known. The aim of this study was to identify facilitators of GP referral to CCNTs.

Methods

Semi-structured interviews with 39 health professionals were conducted between June 2009 and February 2010 in three Primary Care Trusts served by CCNTs in North West England. Interviewees included GPs, Community Children’s Nurses (CCNs), consultant paediatricians, commissioners, and service managers. Qualitative data were analysed thematically using the Framework approach in NVivo 8.

Results

Five facilitators were identified: 1) CCN/CCNT visibility; 2) clear clinical governance procedures; 3) financial and organisational investment in the role of CCNTs in acute care pathways; 4) access and out of hours availability; 5) facilitative financial frameworks.

Conclusion

GPs required confidence in CCNs’ competence to safely manage acutely ill children at home and secure rapid referral if a child’s condition deteriorated. Incremental approaches to developing GP referral to CCNTs underpinned by clear clinical governance protocols are likely to be most effective in building GP confidence and avoiding inappropriate admission.