Medicines for Children is a partnership programme of three organisations.
WellChild is the national charity for sick children and is committed to helping children and their families throughout the UK as they deal with the consequences of serious illness and complex conditions. WellChild focuses on three key areas of care, support and research to make a positive difference to the lives of children who need them now and in the future.
What does WellChild do for Medicines for Children?
WellChild ensures the participation of parents and carers, providing an opportunity to influence decisions about the programme. A panel of parents and carers tell us what information about their child’s medicines they need to know, review the leaflets and test our website.
The WellChild Director of Programmes, Linda Partridge, represents parents and carers on the Medicines for Children project team. She tells us:
“Our aim is to empower parents and carers to give their children medicines with confidence, having been reassured by information tailored to their needs and in an easily accessible form. Feedback from parents who have been involved in reviewing the pilot phases of this project has demonstrated the overwhelming and urgent need for this resource.”
Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH)
The RCPCH, founded in 1996, has over 13,500 members – paediatricians, or children’s doctors – who live in the UK, Ireland and abroad. The College has a major role in postgraduate medical education and professional standards. Its mission is to transform child health through knowledge, innovation and expertise.
What does RCPCH do for Medicines for Children?
The RCPCH provides expertise from paediatricians on the leaflets and website. Paediatricians treat children and young people with health problems and speak with their families on a daily basis. They offer a vast amount of clinical experience. The College also administers the programme.
Andy Fox, Southampton Pharmacy Research Centre Director and Medication Safety Pharmacist, is chair of the Medicines for Children project board:
“The Medicines for Children service is designed to support any parent whose child requires medication at home, from a one-off treatment to a child whose condition requires long-term and complex treatment often with several different medications being given every day. We want to encourage all health professionals working with children to direct parents to this important resource for practical and reassuring advice.”
Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG)
NPPG was formed in 1994 with an aim to improve the care of neonates (babies under 4 weeks), infants and children through the personal development of pharmacists and the provision of quality pharmacy services. NPPG is involved in pharmacy practice, research and audit, education and training, communication and advice.
What does NPPG do for Medicines for Children?
NPPG provides expertise from paediatric pharmacists. Paediatric pharmacists focus on the safe and effective medication use in infants, children and young people. They are usually based in hospitals, working closely with doctors.
Stephen Tomlin, Consultant Pharmacist – Children’s Services, Evelina Children’s Hospital, Guy’s & St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Professional Secretary of the NPPG, has been on the Medicines for Children project team since the beginning. He says:
“The development of this resource is ongoing and will continue to be led by feedback from parents and carers. At present the Medicines for Children team are working to provide evidence-based and accurate information for a further 70 medicines through its rigorous, transparent and fully auditable production process.”
Joint RCPCH/NPPG Medicines Committee
The Medicines Committee is a collaborative standing committee with membership split between RCPCH and NPPG. It includes paediatricians and pharmacists, and has representatives from primary care and psychiatry.
Among the Committee’s objectives are to:
- influence government heath policy on the licensing, availability and use of medicines in children
- work with the Medicines for Children Research Network on new research in child health
- input on the development of the British National Formulary for Children, which gives up to date information on medicines used to treat children and is the basis for the Medicines for Children leaflets
The Committee oversees the Medicine for Children programme. The Medicines Committee chair, Dr Helen Sammons, Associate Professor of Child Health at the University of Nottingham and a Consultant Paediatrician at the Derbyshire Children's Hospital, is deputy chair of the Medicines for Children project board. Two Committee Leads also sit on the project team.