Medicines for Children is run in partnership by three UK-based organisations focussed on child health - the RCPCH, the NPPG and the children's charity WellChild
Medicines for Children was established in 2006 when the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the Neonatal and Paediatric Pharmacists Group (NPPG) decided that parents and carers needed better access to information on children’s medicines. The children’s charity WellChild joined the programme to represent the family perspective and to ensure that the key audience of parents and carers was always at the forefront of our work.
Find out more about the three organisations and what their role is managing and shaping the work of Medicines for Children.
Who are the RCPCH?
The RCPCH, founded in 1996, has over 20,000 members – paediatricians, or children’s doctors – who live in the UK, Ireland and abroad. The RCPCH 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 medicines information we produce for parents/carers and families. 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 RCPCH also administers the programme.
Dr Andy Fox, Deputy Chief Pharmacist at University of Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and Medication Safety Officer, is the 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.”
Who are WellChild?
WellChild are the national charity for seriously ill children. They are committed to helping children and their families throughout the UK as they deal with the consequences of serious illness and complex conditions. Through providing care, support and research, WellChild makes 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 and guide the future direction of Medicines for Children’s work. A panel of parents and carers tell us what information about their child’s medicines they need to know, they review the medicines information and they provide feedback on the website.
WellChild’s Director of Programmes, Amy Mitchell, represents the needs of parents and carers on the Medicines for Children programme board. 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 work of this project has demonstrated the overwhelming and urgent need for this resource.”
Who are the 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 those working in related roles within the health service concerned with children’s medicines 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 and aligned professionals working in paediatric pharmacy, focusing on safe and effective medication use in infants, children and young people. They are usually based in hospitals, working closely with doctors.
Stephen Tomlin, Director of the Children’s Medicines Centre and Associate Chief Pharmacist in Research and Innovation at
Great Ormond Street Hospital, and Professional Lead of the NPPG, has been on the Medicines for Children project team since the beginning of the work in 2006. 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 over 200 paediatric medicines through its rigorous, transparent and fully auditable production process.”
Joint RCPCH/NPPG Medicines Committee
In addition to these three organisations, the joint RCPCH and NPPG Medicines Committe oversees the work of Medicines for Children. Find out more about their work below.
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
- 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 Medicines Committee assist with the development and review of the Medicines for Children information.