Children and young people deserve the highest standards of care. Since the original Accident and Emergency Services for Children was published in 1999 and updated in 2007 there have been significant changes to urgent care health provision in the UK. Care is now provided in minor injury units, walk in centres and pharmacies as well as emergency departments.
Paediatric emergency medicine has continued to evolve and is now a recognised sub-speciality for training from both emergency medicine and paediatrics.
The Intercollegiate Committee for Standards for Children and Young People in Emergency Care Settings has remained active since its inception in 1999. It sits within the committee structure of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH). It has been responsible for developing a number of guidance and standards documents relating to all aspects of emergency and urgent care for children and young people.
Challenges still exist; ever increasing attendances at emergency and urgent care settings, the impact of the European Working Time Directive (EWTD) on availability of staff and increased public expectation of immediate access to care all require service planners to take a renewed approach to emergency healthcare.
The original publication was widely used in the UK to improve the care of children in emergency settings. This third edition of the 1999 guidance has been renamed Standards for Children and Young People in Emergency Care Settings and has incorporated chapters specifically related to young people and mental health, together with consolidating others towards a more ‘pathway’ approach. The committee members commend this publication to you and hope you find the standards practical, useful and achievable.
Dr Stephanie Smith BMBS FRCPCH MRCP
Consultant in Paediatric Accident and Emergency Medicine
Chair, Intercollegiate Committee for Standards for Children and Young People in Emergency Settings, 2012