Paediatric and drug services in spotlight

The Healthcare Commission is to examine the care of substance
misusers and hospital services for children in performance

The commission, in partnership with the National Treatment Agency,
will assess community prescribing and care planning and
co-ordination by drug action teams later this year.

Performance on community prescribing varies, while there is
evidence that care planning is underdeveloped.

The commission will also assess the extent to which acute trusts
are providing child-specific care, their staff are trained and
whether children can access services near their home.

The review reflects long-standing concerns, highlighted in the 2001
Kennedy report into paediatric heart services in Bristol Royal
Infirmary, that children are treated as “mini-adults” in hospitals
and do not have their particular needs addressed.

The improvement reviews are a key plank of the commission’s new
approach to regulation, introduced this year, focusing on areas of
care causing particular concern.

It will also review the performance of primary care trusts in
reducing smoking in the community.

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