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How far we have come!
Twenty years ago, a ground-breaking new book was published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the Neonatal Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG).
(See below for the full write up and photos from the launch of this book on 1st July 1999!)
This book was entitled ‘Medicines for Children’ and at the time it was touted to be the largest and most detailed document ever produced by the RCPCH. This book was an essential new resource for doctors and pharmacists as it contained specific guidance on dosages of paediatric medicines and their clinical uses, which were not widely available at that time. The main goal of this book was to enable safer prescribing of paediatric medicines, as often licensed indications do not cover the clinical needs of children.
It soon became clear that parents and carers needed their own source of information about their children’s medicines, written in a way that was more accessible to non-medics. The work of Medicines for Children split into two distinct areas – information for medical professionals and information for families. In 2005 the first version of the British National Formulary for Children, the 'BNF-C', was published. This detailed book contained the complex information needed to safely prescribe to children and young people. The BNF-C was touted as the new paediatric medicines’ ‘bible’.
But this left parents and carers needing their own source of accessible medicines information. In 2006, the NPPG and RCPCH surveyed 600 parents to understand what information they wanted to know about their children’s medicines. The findings showed that a national resource for parents/carers was needed.
To ensure the families perspective was front and centre of the work, the national children’s charity WellChild joined with the NPPG and RCPCH, and together using medical expertise from paediatric pharmacists, clinicians and input from parents, the team produced 25 pilot medicines leaflets.
By 2009, 50 medicines leaflets had been produced and a major step was taken with Medicines for Children moving online with the first version of the new website launching that year. This meant that any parent or carer, wherever they were, could access the medicines information that they needed 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Twenty years later, Medicines for Children is established as a vital and trusted information resource for parents and families. The website provides over 220 medicines information leaflets, general guidance sheets and parent support videos, and has worked with hundreds of the best paediatricians and pharmacists in developing this information.
In the last 12 months alone, the medicines leaflets have been downloaded over 4.2 million times worldwide, making www.medicinesforchildren.org.uk one of the most visited information resources in the UK.