Supporting safer care for vulnerable children

22 Dec 2017

The full roll out of Symphony’s integration with the Child Protection Information Sharing (CP-IS) project will help emergency departments and local authorities to better protect at-risk children.

This week our urgent and emergency care system, Symphony, received full roll out approval from NHS Digital for its integration with the national CP-IS project.

Connecting unscheduled care and local authority systems together, the new integration ensures that health and social care staff are notified when an at-risk child is treated at an unscheduled care setting anywhere in England. Those involved in a child’s care are also better supported by being able to securely see vital information to do with a child’s health history. The new functionality removes the manual work previously done to gather this information, marking Symphony as the first system to completely automate all of these different processes.

Approval for full integration came after rigorous assessment, including common assurance process (CAP) approval. Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust also carried out first-of-type testing to ensure ease of use and clinical safety.

Improving outcomes and ensuring speedier intervention

Under the new integration, every patient under the age of 19 and any unborn baby attending A&E is automatically checked against the national register. If they have a child protection plan (CPP) or are a looked after child (LAC), the emergency health care team will be alerted to this status. Social care teams are kept in the loop too, and are notified of the child’s attendance. Both emergency care and social care teams are then given access to details of the child’s last 25 visits to an unscheduled care setting.

“With our clinical instinct now backed up by alerts, data and warnings, we can improve early intervention and how we safeguard children.”

Haidar Samiei, our clinical director and consultant in emergency medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.

With everyone involved in the care of at-risk children provided with immediate alerts and information, healthcare professionals can build a more complete picture of a child’s health. By joining up systems and support, it means that teams across settings can work together to improve their patients’ outcomes.

Haidar Samiei, our clinical director and consultant in emergency medicine at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trust, commented on the rollout by stating: “Protecting vulnerable children is of the utmost importance yet, as clinicians, it’s not always simple to identify those who need our help. Whether it’s because of well-concealed symptoms or limited patient interaction during peak hours, there’s tragically a range of complications that can obscure recognition of abuse.

"The full integration of CP-IS with Symphony goes a long way to combat these issues. By connecting the dots between emergency departments and local authorities, it helps to provide a fuller picture of a child’s health. With our clinical instinct now backed up by alerts, data and warnings, we can improve early intervention and how we safeguard children.”