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RCPCH invited reviews of services: how they can help
  1. Sue Eardley1,
  2. David Shortland2
  1. 1 Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, London, London, UK
  2. 2 Paediatrics Department, Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Poole, UK
  1. Correspondence to Sue Eardley, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, London, London WC1X 8SH, UK; sue.eardley{at}

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The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) Invited Review service was launched in 2012 to drive quality improvement for individuals, teams, services and networks. Its premise was that the performance of child health services in the UK depends on healthcare professionals, professional bodies and regulators working in unison to achieve the best possible outcomes; where this is not working, a review can provide an external, impartial perspective from paediatricians from within a similar service but with an understanding of the national perspective.

The recommendations made by review teams draw on the RCPCH’s knowledge of paediatric services in the UK, together with practical evidence from previous reviews where departments facing similar problems have taken effective actions. Equally, reviews provide a means by which the RCPCH can better understand the current state of services in the UK and the challenges facing our members. The findings from over 61 reviews to August 2016 were analysed in January 2017 and detailed in a report ‘Invited Reviews; the First Four Years1’. Since then nine further reviews have taken place and a breakdown of the topics covered is set out in table 1.

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Table 1

Topics covered by sector

While regulatory inspection, clinical audit, datasets and local peer review visit programmes enable clinicians and managers to compare compliance with measurable standards and learn from others, such approaches are not always designed to identify and address underlying problems constraining specific services, and they struggle to address issues arising in clinical networks. Issues could include inappropriate leadership, poor team dynamics, outdated practices, chronic under-resourcing, governance or individual practice concerns, and the RCPCH’s review service is designed to address exactly these problems.

A review can benchmark …

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  • Contributors SE drafted and edited the manuscript based upon headings, concept and contributions from DS. The overall programme to which the article relates was established by SE and is supported by a clinically led programme board chaired by DS.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement None.