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1.  Paediatric palliative home care in areas of Germany with low population density and long distances: a questionnaire survey with general paediatricians 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:498.
In 2007, the patient’s right to specialised palliative home care became law in Germany. However, childhood palliative care in territorial states with low patient numbers and long distances requires adapted models to ensure an area-wide maintenance. Actually, general paediatricians are the basic care providers for children and adolescents. They also provide home care. The aim of this study was to improve the knowledge about general paediatrician’s involvement in and contribution to palliative care in children.
To evaluate the current status of palliative home care provided by general paediatricians and their cooperation with other paediatric palliative care providers, a questionnaire survey was disseminated to general paediatricians in Lower Saxony, a German federal state with nearly eight million inhabitants and a predominantly rural infrastructure. Data analysis was descriptive.
One hundred forty one of 157 included general paediatricians completed the questionnaire (response rate: 89.8%). A total of 792 children and adolescents suffering from life-limiting conditions were cared for by these general paediatricians in 2008. Severe cerebral palsy was the most prevalent diagnosis. Eighty-nine per cent of the general paediatricians stated that they had professional experience with paediatric palliative care.
Collaboration of general paediatricians and other palliative care providers was stated as not well developed. The support by a specialised team including 24-hour on-call duty and the intensification of educational programs were emphasised.
The current regional infrastructure of palliative home care in Lower Saxony can benefit from the establishment of a coordinated network of palliative home care providers.
PMCID: PMC3532334  PMID: 22967691
Children; Palliative care; Paediatrician’s survey; Home care; Network; Prevalence
2.  Paediatric palliative home care by general paediatricians: a multimethod study on perceived barriers and incentives 
BMC Palliative Care  2010;9:11.
Non-specialist palliative care, as it is delivered by general practitioners, is a basic component of a comprehensive palliative care infrastructure for adult patients with progressive and far advanced disease. Currently palliative care for children and adolescents is recognized as a distinct entity of care, requiring networks of service providers across different settings, including paediatricians working in general practice. In Germany, the medical home care for children and adolescents is to a large extent delivered by general paediatricians working in their own practice. However, these are rarely confronted with children suffering from life-limiting diseases. The aim of this study was therefore to examine potential barriers, incentives, and the professional self-image of general paediatricians with regard to paediatric palliative care.
Based on qualitative expert interviews, a questionnaire was designed and a survey among general paediatricians in their own practice (n = 293) was undertaken. The survey has been developed and performed in close cooperation with the regional professional association of paediatricians.
The results showed a high disposition on part of the paediatricians to engage in palliative care, and the majority of respondents regarded palliative care as part of their profile. Main barriers for the implementation were time restrictions (40.7%) and financial burden (31.6%), sole responsibility without team support (31.1%), as well as formal requirements such as forms and prescriptions (26.6%). Major facilitations were support by local specialist services such as home care nursing service (83.0%), access to a specialist paediatric palliative care consultation team (82.4%), as well as an option of exchange with colleagues (60.1%).
Altogether, the high commitment to this survey reflects the relevance of the issue for paediatricians working in general practice. Education in basic palliative care competence and communication skills was seen as an important prerequisite for the engagement in paediatric palliative home care. A local network of specialist support on site and a 24/7 on-call service are necessary in order to facilitate the implementation of basic palliative care by paediatricians in their own practice.
PMCID: PMC2902453  PMID: 20525318
3.  Community paediatricians' counseling patterns and knowledge of recommendations relating to child restraint use in motor vehicles 
Injury Prevention  2004;10(2):103-106.
Background: Road traffic injury is the leading cause of death among Canadian children and youth. Transport Canada recommends four types of child restraint depending on the size of the child, and recent studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of recommended restraint use.
Objectives: To determine community paediatricians' knowledge of Transport Canada recommendations for child restraint use in vehicles, and to examine paediatricians' counseling patterns in relation to child passenger safety.
Methods: A mailed questionnaire survey of all community paediatricians affiliated with the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto was conducted. A 16 item questionnaire gathered information on knowledge of Transport Canada recommendations for child restraint use, general counseling patterns in relation to child passenger safety, and demographic information.
Results: In total, 60 community paediatricians in active practice were identified. Of these, 48 (80%) responded to the mailed questionnaire. Almost all paediatricians (92%) correctly identified the recommended weight for transition to a forward-facing car seat, whereas fewer paediatricians (63%) correctly identified the recommended weight for transition to a booster seat from a forward-facing car seat, and only one third of paediatricians correctly identified the recommended weight for transition from a booster seat to a seat belt.
Conclusion: Community paediatricians' knowledge of Transport Canada recommendations for child restraint use in vehicles is incomplete. There is a need for such recommendations to be better disseminated to paediatricians and parents so that information on child restraint use is delivered in a clear and consistent manner.
PMCID: PMC1730066  PMID: 15066976
4.  Attitudes and practice of Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (Ottawa, Ontario) paediatricians and residents toward literacy promotion in Canada 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2011;16(5):e38-e42.
Literacy is a critical health issue in Canada. Paediatricians play an important role in improving literacy skills; however, formal training in literacy education and promotion is not currently part of most Canadian paediatric residency programs.
To examine the attitudes and practice of paediatricians and residents at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO [Ottawa, Ontario]) toward literacy promotion.
A descriptive, cross-sectional survey of CHEO-affiliated paediatricians, residents and fellows was performed. Survey items addressed demographics, attitudes toward literacy, current practice and previous education/training in literacy education through self-reporting.
One hundred ninety-seven surveys were distributed, with a response rate of 82%. Ninety-one per cent of respondents reported never having formal training in literacy development and promotion. Seventy-four per cent of respondents believed that low literacy is a significant health issue in Canada; however, only 16% of respondents reported regularly discussing literacy with patients and their families. Thirty-nine per cent of general paediatricians reported discussing literacy with patients and families regularly, compared with 10% of paediatric subspecialists (P<0.01). Seventy-one per cent of respondents believed that literacy education should be a standard part of residency education.
While most respondents identified literacy as an important paediatric issue, most paediatricians did not regularly discuss the importance of literacy with their patients. General paediatricians are most likely to discuss literacy. There is a lack of formal education among paediatricians in literacy development and promotion, and the majority of respondents believe that this should be a standard part of paediatric residency training.
PMCID: PMC3115000  PMID: 22547952
Advocacy; Literacy; Medical education; Reading
5.  Asthma in children: Management practices among paediatricians and family physicians 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2001;6(6):355-360.
To ascertain the variation in asthma management practices among paediatricians and family physicians to determine how to improve care.
Questionnaire study of paediatricians and family physicians that focused on the use of beta2-agonists, inhaled corticosteroids, patient asthma education, quantitative measurements of airflow and diagnostic investigations for asthma. Case scenarios were used in the questionnaire.
The response rate was 66% (415 of 632) among paediatricians and 42% (1156 of 2750) among family physicians. In general, both groups followed consensus guidelines. There were some differences in management practices among paediatricians and family physicians. Paediatricians were more likely to develop an action plan and less likely to use xanthines or inhaled anticholinergic agents. However, family physicians were more likely to use spirometry or home peak expiratory flow rates to make a diagnosis of asthma.
Family physicians and paediatricians require a different focus on educational interventions to improve the care of children with asthma.
PMCID: PMC2804761  PMID: 20084262
Asthma; Children; Management; Professional variation
6.  Accuracy of clinical assessment of heart murmurs by office based (general practice) paediatricians 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1999;81(5):409-412.
AIM—To determine the diagnostic accuracy of physical examination by office based (general practice) paediatricians in the evaluation of heart murmurs.
DESIGN—Each of 30 office based paediatricians blindly examined a random sample of children with murmurs (43% of which were pathological). Sensitivity and specificity were calculated and were related to paediatricians' characteristics.
RESULTS—Mean (SD) sensitivity was 82 (24)% with a mean specificity of 72 (24)% in differentiating pathological from innocent murmurs, with further investigations requested for 54% of assessments. The addition of a referral strategy would have increased mean sensitivity to 87 (20)% and specificity to 98 (8)%. Diagnostic accuracy was not significantly related to the paediatricians' age, education or practice characteristics, but was related to referral practices and confidence in assessment.
CONCLUSIONS—Diagnostic accuracy of clinical assessment of heart murmurs by office based paediatricians is suboptimal, and educational strategies are needed to improve accuracy and reduce unnecessary referrals and misdiagnosis.

PMCID: PMC1718138  PMID: 10519714
7.  Canadian paediatricians’ approaches to managing patients with adverse events following immunization: The role of the Special Immunization Clinic network 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2014;19(6):310-314.
When moderate or severe adverse events occur after vaccination, physicians and patients may have concerns about future immunizations. Similar concerns arise in patients with underlying conditions whose risk for adverse events may differ from the general population. The Special Immunization Clinic (SIC) network was established in 2013 at 13 sites in Canada to provide expertise in the clinical evaluation and vaccination of these patients.
To assess referral patterns for patients with vaccine adverse events or potential vaccine contraindications among paediatricians and to assess the anticipated utilization of an SIC.
A 12-item questionnaire was distributed to paediatricians and subspecialists participating in the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program through monthly e-mail and mail contacts.
The response rate was 24% (586 of 2490). Fifty-three percent of respondents practiced general paediatrics exclusively and 52% reported that they administer vaccines. In the previous 12 months, 26% of respondents had encountered children with challenging adverse events or potential vaccine contraindications in their practice and 29% had received referrals for such patients, including 27% of subspecialists. Overall, 69% of respondents indicated that they would be likely or very likely to refer patients to an SIC, and 34% indicated that they would have referred at least one patient to an SIC in the previous 12 months.
Patients who experience challenging adverse events following immunization or potential vaccine contraindications are encountered by paediatricians and subspecialists in all practice settings. The SIC network will be able to respond to a clinical need and support paediatricians in managing these patients.
PMCID: PMC4173958  PMID: 25332661
Adverse events; Immunization; Referral
8.  Recurrent abdominal pain in children and adolescents – a survey among paediatricians 
Objective: Little is known about prevalence and usual treatment of childhood and adolescent recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) in outpatient paediatricians’ practice. This study’s primary objective was to acquire insights into the usual paediatricians’ treatment and their estimation of prevalence, age and gender of RAP patients. Further objectives were to assess to which extent family members of patients report similar symptoms, how paediatricians rate the strain of parents of affected children and adolescents and how paediatricians estimate the demand for psychological support.
Methods: Provided by a medical register, 437 outpatient paediatricians received a questionnaire to assess their perception of several psychosomatic problems and disorders including recurrent abdominal pain.
Results: According to paediatricians’ estimation, 15% of all visits are caused by patients with RAP. In 22% of these cases of RAP, at least one family member has similar problems. In about 15% of all RAP cases, parents ask for professional psychological support concerning their children’s issues, whereas 40% of paediatricians wish for psychological support considering this group of patients.
Conclusions: Estimated frequencies and paediatricians’ demands show the need for evidence-based psychological interventions in RAP to support usual medical treatment.
PMCID: PMC3070435  PMID: 21468324
recurrent abdominal pain; RAP; functional abdominal pain; paediatricians; standard medical care; outpatient practice
9.  Clinicians' knowledge of informed consent 
Journal of Medical Ethics  2007;33(3):181-184.
To audit doctors' knowledge of informed consent.
10 consent scenarios with “true”, “false”, or “don't know” answers were completed by doctors who care for children at a large district general hospital. These questions tested clinicians' knowledge of who could give consent in different clinical situations.
Royal United Hospital, Bath, UK.
51 doctors participated (25 paediatricians and 26 other clinicians). Paediatricians scored higher than other clinicians (average correct response 69% v 49%). Only 36% (9/25) of paediatricians and 8% (2/26) of other clinicians realised that the biological father of a child born before 1 December 2003 needed a court order or a parental responsibility agreement to acquire parental responsibility, and thus be able to consent on behalf of his child, if he was not married to the child's mother. Non‐paediatric clinicians were unsure or incorrect when tested on situations where people with parental responsibility do not agree, or where young people (<16 years), who are Fraser competent do not want to consult their parents. Most clinicians did not know that the parents of a 20‐year‐old man with severe learning difficulties are unable to consent to surgery on his behalf, and many non‐paediatricians were unclear on who could give consent when a child lived with foster parents.
Clinicians who obtain consent for the treatment of children need to increase their knowledge on who is able to give informed consent to ensure best (legal and safe) practice.
PMCID: PMC2598260  PMID: 17329394
10.  Early childhood caries and infant oral health: Paediatricians’ and family physicians’ knowledge, practices and training 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2006;11(3):151-157.
To assess the knowledge of early childhood caries and to examine the current preventive oral health-related practices and training among Canadian paediatricians and family physicians who provide primary care to children younger than three years.
A cross-sectional, self-administered survey was mailed to a random sample of 1928 paediatricians and family physicians.
A total of 1044 physicians met the study eligibility criteria, and of those, 537 returned completed surveys, resulting in an overall response rate of 51.4% (237 paediatricians and 300 family physicians). Six questions assessed knowledge of early childhood caries; only 1.8% of paediatricians and 0.7% of family physicians answered all of these questions correctly. In total, 73.9% of paediatricians and 52.4% of family physicians reported visually inspecting children’s teeth; 60.4% and 44.6%, respectively, reported counselling parents or caregivers regarding teething and dental care; 53.2% and 25.6%, respectively, reported assessing children’s risk of developing tooth decay; and 17.9% and 22.3%, respectively, reported receiving no oral health training in medical school or residency. Respondents who felt confident and knowledgeable and who considered their role in promoting oral health as “very important” were significantly more likely to carry out oral health-related practices.
Although the majority of paediatricians and family physicians reported including aspects of oral health in children’s well visits, a reported lack of dental knowledge and training appeared to pose barriers, limiting these physicians from playing a more active role in promoting the oral health of children in their practices.
PMCID: PMC2435315  PMID: 19030271
Attitudes; Dental caries; Early childhood caries; Health knowledge; Oral health; Physicians; Practice
11.  Initial evaluation of congenital hypothyroidism: a survey of general paediatricians in East Anglia 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  1997;77(4):339-341.

The practice of general paediatricians in the initial evaluation of congenital hypothyroidism (CHT) was assessed. This was performed by a questionnaire survey of paediatricians in East Anglia of whom 84% responded. Nineteen of 25 clinicians based in seven district hospitals managed children with CHT. The median number of children in the care of each clinician was 4 (range 1-17) and the median number of children attending each hospital was 12 (range 5-23). All except one clinician arranged to confirm the diagnosis with a serum thyroid stimulating hormone concentration and free or total thyroxine. There was variation of opinion on the value of serum triiodothyronine and free triiodothyronine measurements, antibody screening, knee radiographs, and thyroid isotope scans. One clinician sought advice when notified of new children and two expressed the need for an investigation protocol. These findings indicate that most general paediatricians in East Anglia manage only a few children with CHT; the initial diagnosis is appropriately confirmed but they are uncertain about the value of other investigations.

PMCID: PMC1717345  PMID: 9389240
12.  A prospective questionnaire assessment of attitudes and experiences of off label prescribing among hospital based paediatricians 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2006;91(7):584-587.
To assess current attitudes of hospital based paediatricians to off label prescribing, and the performance of clinical trials in children.
A prospective, questionnaire based study.
257 hospital based consultants and specialist registrars in paediatric practice in Scotland during 2003–2004.
A 25 item questionnaire was sent to 257 hospital based paediatricians and 151 (59%) were returned completed. Over 90% of responders were familiar with the concept of, and knowingly prescribed, off label drugs; 55% of responders stated that such prescribing disadvantaged children, and 47% expressed concerns about the efficacy of off label medicines. Although 70% of responders expressed concerns about safety, only 17% had observed an adverse event, and 47% a treatment failure, while 69% did not obtain informed consent or tell parents they were prescribing off label, and 67% did not inform the family's general practitioner. Many respondents did not believe it was necessary to carry out clinical trials in children for new (46%) or generic (64%) medicines. However, 52% of respondents stated that they would be willing to undertake clinical studies and recruit their own patients (61%) or children (73%) to take part in such studies.
Among Scottish paediatricians there is concern about off label prescribing, although the majority do not consider it necessary to inform parents or GP colleagues. The need for clinical trials in children was recognised but there was a less than wholehearted acceptance of the need for such studies, at variance with the current drive to promote clinical trials in this age group.
PMCID: PMC2082832  PMID: 16443615
off label prescribing; children; secondary care
13.  A study of clinical opinion and practice regarding circumcision 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2000;83(5):393-396.
AIM—To establish clinical opinion regarding appropriate indications for circumcision and to examine actual clinical practice.
METHODS—A questionnaire was sent to all NHS hospital consultants in the Yorkshire region of the UK identified as having a role to play in the management of boys (under 16 years of age) requiring circumcision. Retrospective data on actual clinical practice during a three month study period were also collected via a simple proforma.
RESULTS—Of 153 questionnaires sent, 64 were returned. Responses revealed varying opinions regarding appropriate indications for circumcision within each consultant group, and between paediatricians and surgeons. Surgeons were generally more inclined to recommend circumcision for each of the indications listed in the questionnaire. Analysis of clinical practice revealed that almost two thirds of procedures were carried out for phimosis, and nearly half of these children were under the age of 5years.
CONCLUSION—There are differences in the clinical opinions of surgeons and paediatricians on what constitutes an appropriate indication for circumcision. Paediatricians' opinions are generally more in line with current evidence than those of surgeons, possibly resulting in many unnecessary circumcisions.

PMCID: PMC1718533  PMID: 11040144
14.  Otolaryngology training during paediatric residency: A survey of paediatricians in Canada 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2008;13(6):493-498.
There is a significant overlap between paediatrics and otolaryngology relating to clinical practice of the two specialties. A lack of cross-training has been identified in previous studies, but the specifics have not been established. The present study was directed at paediatricians in Canada, and examined the need for mandatory otolaryngology training during paediatric residency.
Surveys were mailed out to paediatricians in Canada who had completed residency within the past 20 years. Guidelines for the mailing procedure were regulated by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. A cover letter, survey form and return envelope were included in the package. Data were tabulated and described using descriptive statistics.
Six hundred sixty-six surveys were mailed; the response rate was 48%. Seventy-three per cent of paediatricians indicated that otolaryngology training should be mandatory during paediatric residency. Seventy-nine per cent of general paediatricians and 68% of subspecialists also believed that it should be mandatory training. Seventy per cent of paediatricians indicated that clinical experience was the best format for otolaryngology training, the other options being lectures or rotations. Postgraduate year 2 was the most preferred year for this training. For paediatricians who indicated mandatory training, 45% indicated that it could not replace something else, 38% said that it could replace another experience and the remainder were undecided. The respondents provided helpful commentary.
The majority of surveyed paediatricians in Canada believe that otolaryngology training should be mandatory during paediatric residency. There was also a general consensus relating to the format (clinical experience) and the duration (two to four weeks) of the training.
PMCID: PMC2532907  PMID: 19436427
Education; Otolaryngology; Paediatrics; Residency; Training
15.  Adherence among Italian paediatricians to the Italian guidelines for the management of fever in children: a cross sectional survey 
BMC Pediatrics  2013;13:210.
Italian guidelines for the management of fever in children (IFG) have been published in 2009 and thereafter disseminated in all country. A survey was conducted before their publication and three years later to investigate their impact on knowledge and behaviors of paediatricians.
A questionnaire was administered to convenient samples of paediatricians in 2009 and in 2012, eliciting information about fever definition, methods of temperature measurement, and antipyretic use. Differences in responses between 2009 and 2012 and between paediatricians who were or were not aware of the IFG were evaluated.
The responses rates were 74% (480/648) in 2009 and 69% (300/434) in 2012. In 2012 168/300 (56%) of participants were aware of the IFG. The proportion of paediatricians who correctly would never suggest the use of physical methods increased from 18.7% to 36.4% (P < 0.001). In 2009 11% of paediatricians declared that the use of antipyretic drugs depends on patient discomfort and did not use a temperature cut off. In 2012 this percentage reached 45.3% (P < 0.001). Alternate use of antipyretics decreased from 27.0% to 11.3% (P < 0.001). Use of rectal administration of antipyretics in absence of vomiting decreased from 43.8% in 2009 to 25.3% in 2012 (P < 0.001). In general, improvements were more striking in paediatricians who were aware of the IFG than in those who were not aware of them.
Behaviours of Italian paediatricians improved over time. However, some wrong attitudes need to be further discouraged, including use of physical methods and misuse of rectal administration. Further strategy to disseminate the IFG could be needed.
PMCID: PMC3878332  PMID: 24350822
16.  Why do paediatricians prescribe antibiotics? Results of an Italian regional project 
BMC Pediatrics  2009;9:69.
To investigate determinants of antibiotic prescription in paediatric care, as a first step of a multilevel intervention to improve prescribing for common respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in a northern Italian region with high antibiotic prescription rate.
A two-step survey was performed: in phase I, knowledge, and attitudes were explored involving all family and hospital paediatricians of Emilia-Romagna and a sample of parents. In phase II, patient care practices were explored in a stratified random sample of visits, both in hospitals and family physician's clinics; parent expectations were investigated in a sub-sample of these visits.
Out of overall 4352 visits for suspected RTIs, in 38% of children an antibiotic was prescribed. Diagnostic uncertainty was perceived by paediatricians as the most frequent cause of inappropriate prescription (56% of 633 interviewed paediatricians); but, rapid antigen detecting tests was used in case of pharyngitis/pharyngotonsillitis by 36% and 21% of family and hospital paediatricians only. More than 50% of paediatricians affirmed to not adopt a "wait and see strategy" in acute otitis. The perceived parental expectation of antibiotics was not indicated by paediatricians as a crucial determinant of prescription, but this perception was the second factor most strongly associated to prescription (OR = 12.8; 95% CI 10.4 - 15.8), the first being the presence of othorrea. Regarding parents, the most important identified factors, potentially associated to overprescribing, were the lack of knowledge of RTIs and antibiotics (41% of 1029 parents indicated bacteria as a possible cause of common cold), and the propensity to seek medical care for trivial infections (48% of 4352 children accessing ambulatory practice presented only symptoms of common cold).
A wide gap between perceived and real determinants of antibiotic prescription exists. This can promote antibiotic overuse. Inadequate parental knowledge can also induce inappropriate prescription. The value of this study is that it simultaneously explored determinants of antimicrobial prescribing in an entire region involving both professionals and parents.
PMCID: PMC2777860  PMID: 19895678
17.  Paediatricians’ awareness of children’s oral health: Knowledge, training, attitudes and practices among Turkish paediatricians 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2013;18(4):e15-e19.
In Turkey, 74.1% of children between three and six years of age develop dental caries.
To assess the depth of oral health and dental knowledge among paediatricians in Turkey, to determine their level of oral health education and to determine factors that were associated with higher knowledge scores.
A cross-sectional survey of demographics that assessed the participants’ knowledge of oral and dental health, attitudes regarding oral health during well-child visits and opinions regarding infant oral health care visits was conducted. The outcome variables were the proportions of paediatricians who adhered to good clinical practice guidelines, recommended dental visits for children younger than one year of age, and having a knowledge score >50%.
The participant characteristics that were significantly associated with a greater mean number of correct answers were female sex, good clinical practice, confidence in detecting dental caries and the presence of a dentistry department in their hospital (P=0.001, P<0.001, P<0.001 and P=0.02, respectively). Only 13.9% of paediatricians referred children younger than one year of age to a dentist. After adjusting for the level of oral health education received during residency training, sex and having children, only the knowledge score was significantly associated with referring patients younger than one year of age to a dentist (P=0.01).
Some paediatricians’ knowledge was found to be associated with practices that were in accordance with professional society recommendations. The lack of dental knowledge and training in residency limits the paediatricians’ role in promoting children’s oral health in daily practice.
PMCID: PMC3805629  PMID: 24421693
Dental caries; Education; Knowledge; Oral health; Physicians
18.  Children referred for specialist care: a nationwide study in Dutch general practice. 
BACKGROUND: Insight into referral patterns provides general practitioners (GPs) and specialists with a frame of reference for their own work and enables assessment of the need for secondary care. Only approximate information is available. AIM: To determine how often, to which specialties and for what conditions children in different age groups are referred, as well as how often a condition is referred given the incidence in general practice. METHOD: From data of the Dutch National Survey of Morbidity and Interventions in General Practice, 63,753 new referrals (acute and non-acute) were analysed for children (0-14 years) from 103 participating practices (161 GPs) who registered. Practices were divided into four groups. Each group of practices participated for three consecutive months covering a whole year altogether. We calculated referral rates per 1000 children per year and referability rates per 100 episodes, which quantifies the a priori chance of a condition being referred for specialist care. RESULTS: The referral rate varied by age from 231 for children under 1 year old to 119 for those aged 10-14 years (mean 159). The specialties mainly involved were ENT, paediatrics, surgery, ophthalmology, dermatology and orthopaedics. Referrals in the first year of life were most frequently to paediatricians (123); among older children the referral rate to paediatricians decreased (mean 36). Referrals to ENT specialists were seen particularly in the age groups 1-4 (71) and 5-9 (53). For surgery, the referral rate increased by age from 19 to 34. Differences between boys and girls were small, except for surgery. The highest referral rates were for problems in the International Classification of Primary Care (ICPC) chapters: respiratory (28); musculoskeletal (25); ear (24) and eye (21). Referability rates were, in general, low for conditions referred to paediatrics and dermatology and high for surgery and ophthalmology. The variation in problems presented to each specialty is indicated by the proportion of all referrals constituted by the 10 most frequently referred diagnoses: from 35% for paediatrics to 81% for ENT; for ophthalmology, five diagnoses accounted for 83% of all referrals. CONCLUSIONS: The need for specialist care in childhood is clarified with detailed information for different age categories, specialties involved and variation in morbidity presented to specialists, as well as the proneness of conditions to be referred.
PMCID: PMC1312868  PMID: 9115787
19.  Primary paediatric care models and non-urgent Emergency Department utilization: an area-based cohort study 
BMC Family Practice  2010;11:32.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between different primary paediatric practice models (individual, network -affiliated but in separate office-, and group practice) and non urgent utilization of the Emergency Department (ED).
The data sources were: the 2006 Regional Paediatric Patient files (0-6 years old), the Regional Community-based paediatrician (CBP) file and the 2006 Emergency Information System. We recorded and studied the ED visits of children, excluding planned ED visits, visits for trauma/poisoning and those that were assigned non deferrable/critical triage codes. A multivariate logistic regression was applied to estimate the adjusted odds ratio of an ED visit. The exposure was the type of paediatric practice that served the child: individual, network or group practice. Various characteristics of the child were considered.
The cohort was composed of 293,662 children. In the 2006, 43,347 ED visits occurred (147.6 per 1000). Multivariate logistic models showed lower ED use for group paediatrician patients (OR 0.84; 95%CI 0.73-0.96) and for network paediatrician patients (OR 0.92; 95%CI 0.85-1.00) compared to patients served by an individual practice.
This study shows that there is a weak association between the type of paediatrician primary practice and emergency department use. Our results highlight the necessity to continue to improve the organization of paediatrician primary practice, in order to increase patient access to primary paediatric care.
PMCID: PMC2874788  PMID: 20438624
20.  Adverse events associated with paediatric use of complementary and alternative medicine: Results of a Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program survey 
Paediatrics & Child Health  2009;14(6):385-387.
Despite many studies confirming that the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) by children is common, few have assessed related adverse events.
To conduct a national survey to identify the frequency and severity of adverse events associated with paediatric CAM use.
Survey questions were developed based on a review of relevant literature and consultation with content experts. In January 2006, the Canadian Paediatric Surveillance Program distributed the survey to all paediatricians and paediatric subspecialists in active practice in Canada.
Of the 2489 paediatricians who received the survey, 583 (23%) responded. Respondents reported that they asked patients about CAM use 38% of the time and that patients disclosed this information before being questioned only 22% of the time. Forty-two paediatricians (7%) reported seeing adverse events, most commonly involving natural health products, in the previous year. One hundred five paediatricians (18%) reported witnessing cases of delayed diagnosis or treatment (n=488) that they attributed to the use of CAM.
While serious adverse events associated with paediatric CAM appear to be rare, delays in diagnosis or treatment seem more common. Given the lack of paediatrician-patient discussion regarding CAM use, our findings may under-represent adverse events. A lack of reported adverse events should not be interpreted as a confirmation of safety. Active surveillance is required to accurately assess the incidence, nature and severity of paediatric CAM-related adverse events. Patient safety demands that paediatricians routinely inquire about the use of CAM.
PMCID: PMC2735381  PMID: 20592974
Adverse effects; Complementary therapies; Health survey; Manipulation; Natural products; Paediatrics; Spinal
21.  Perception of primary health professionals about Female Genital Mutilation: from healthcare to intercultural competence 
The practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), a deeply-rooted tradition in 28 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, carries important negative consequences for the health and quality of life of women and children. Migratory movements have brought this harmful traditional practice to our medical offices, with the subsequent conflicts related to how to approach this healthcare problem, involving not only a purely healthcare-related event but also questions of an ethical, cultural identity and human rights nature.
The aim of this study was to analyse the perceptions, degree of knowledge, attitudes and practices of the primary healthcare professionals in relation to FGM. A transversal, descriptive study was performed with a self-administered questionnaire to family physicians, paediatricians, nurses, midwives and gynaecologists. Trends towards changes in the two periods studied (2001 and 2004) were analysed.
A total of 225 (80%) professionals answered the questionnaire in 2001 and 184 (62%) in 2004. Sixteen percent declared detection of some case in 2004, rising three-fold from the number reported in 2001. Eighteen percent stated that they had no interest in FGM. Less than 40% correctly identified the typology, while less than 30% knew the countries in which the practice is carried out and 82% normally attended patients from these countries.
Female genital mutilations are present in primary healthcare medical offices with paediatricians and gynaecologists having the closest contact with the problem. Preventive measures should be designed as should sensitization to promote stands against these practices.
PMCID: PMC2631456  PMID: 19146694
22.  Development of an early nurse led intervention to treat children referred to secondary paediatric care with constipation with or without soiling 
BMC Pediatrics  2013;13:193.
Constipation is a common chronic childhood condition referred to secondary care. Effective treatment requires early intervention, prolonged medication to soften stools and behavioural support to achieve a regular habit of sitting on the toilet to pass a stool. The purpose of this audit and service development was to assess routine consultant paediatrician-led care against minimum standards and if appropriate to develop a nurse-led intervention. The new care package could then be tried out within general paediatric clinics in Glasgow as a service evaluation. NICE guideline (CG99) has a research recommendation to compare nurse-led care with routine consultant-led care.
Design was an audit then development of a nurse-led intervention followed by a service evaluation. Participants were children (age 0–13 years), referred by their General Practitioner (GP) to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children Glasgow, with constipation the main problem in the GP letter. The audit covered appointment waiting times, intervention provided, initial follow-up and parental satisfaction with routine consultant-led practice. The nurse-led intervention focused on self-help psychology practice with NICE guideline medical support. This was compared with routine consultant paediatrician care in a service evaluation.
The audit found consultant-led care had long waiting times, delayed initial follow-up and variable intervention. The new nurse-led intervention is described in detail. The nurse-led intervention performed well compared with consultant-led care. Less ‘nurse-led’ children, 3/45 (7%), were still constipated passing less than 3 stools per week compared with 8/58 (14%) receiving consultant-led care. Less ‘nurse-led’ parents, 10/45 (22%), reported their child having pain passing stools in the previous week compared with consultant-led care, 26/58 (45%). The proportion of children, over 4 years, free from soiling accidents was similar, 15/23 (65%) in the nurse-led group and 18/29 (62%) with consultant-led care. Parental satisfaction was slightly better in the nurse-led group.
It is difficult to achieve minimum standards using routine consultant-led care for children referred by their GP with constipation. Nurse-led early intervention is feasible and has produced promising results in a service evaluation. An exploratory trial is planned to develop a teaching module, robust outcomes including costs and benefits, and methodology for a definitive trial recommended by NICE.
PMCID: PMC3870966  PMID: 24252503
Constipation; Child; Intervention studies; Psychological techniques; Medicine
23.  Towards evidence based medicine for paediatricians 
In order to give the best care to patients and families, paediatricians need to integrate the highest quality scientific evidence with clinical expertise and the opinions of the family.1Archimedes seeks to assist practising clinicians by providing “evidence‐based” answers to common questions which are not at the forefront of research but are at the core of practice. In doing this, we are adapting a format which has been successfully developed by Kevin Macaway‐Jones and the group at the Emergency Medicine Journal—“BestBets”.
A word of warning. The topic summaries are not systematic reviews, though they are as exhaustive as a practising clinician can produce. They make no attempt to statistically aggregate the data, nor search the grey, unpublished literature. What Archimedes offers are practical, best evidence‐based answers to practical, clinical questions.
The format of Archimedes may be familiar. A description of the clinical setting is followed by a structured clinical question. (These aid in focusing the mind, assisting searching2 and gaining answers.3) A brief report of the search used follows—this has been performed in a hierarchical way, to search for the best‐quality evidence to answer the question. ( A table provides a summary of the evidence and key points of the critical appraisal. For further information on critical appraisal, and the measures of effect (such as number needed to treat), books by Sackett et al4 and Moyer et al5 may help. To pull the information together, a commentary is provided. But to make it all much more accessible, a box provides the clinical bottom lines.
Electronic‐only topics that have been published on the BestBets site ( and may be of interest to paediatricians include:
When is a second course of indomethacin effective for PDA in neonates?
Does delayed cord clamping prevent sepsis?
Readers wishing to submit their own questions—with best evidence answers—are encouraged to review those already proposed at If your question still hasn't been answered, feel free to submit your summary according to the Instructions for Authors at Three topics are covered in this issue of the journal:
In children aged <3 years does procalcitonin help exclude serious bacterial infection in fever without focus?
Does avoidance of breast feeding reduce mother‐to‐infant transmission of hepatitis C virus infection?
Should children under treatment for juvenile idiopathic arthritis receive flu vaccination?
CAN gambling with other people's children
When we use tests to “rule out” a condition, we generally accept that we are left with a small risk of being wrong. (I think we have all discharged a child with an “upper respiratory tract infection” on a Friday to be greeted with them on antibiotics for pneumonia the following Monday.) How much faith we place in a test result is a product of two things: our initial assumption about the likelihood of the diagnosis (pretest probability) and our opinion as to how effective the test is (accuracy), but our actions do not just reflect these factors.
For instance, a well, afebrile child with a scattering of petechiae over its wrist 8 hours before, is unlikely to have meningococcal disease. If you perform a couple of tests, you can find that it has a low C‐reactive protein and a normal full blood count. What we do with this varies widely; some people would treat this with 48 h of antibiotics, others would discharge the patient home.
It is interesting to reflect on two things: first, what chance of meningococcal disease would you put on this clinical picture (before the test), and what about with the test results? What about your colleagues? You may be surprised by how widely this varies. Second, even those who have the same estimates of risk of disease may have different preferred actions (depending on their attitude to risk).
In looking at the diagnostic test for the ruling out of a disease, we can make our arguments more useful by having some data on the assumptions we make, and then transparently discussing our attitudes to risk. It is only after doing this that we can really decide if a test is good enough for us, regardless of how accurate it might be.
1Moyer VA, Ellior EJ. Preface. In: Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health, Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
2Richardson WS, Wilson MC, Nishikawa J, et al. The well‐built clinical question: a key to evidence‐based decisions. ACP J Club 1995;123:A12–13.
3Bergus GR, Randall CS, Sinift SD, et al. Does the structure of clinical questions affect the outcome of curbside consultations with specialty colleagues? Arch Fam Med 2000;9:541–7.
4Sackett DL, Starus S, Richardson WS, et al. Evidence‐based medicine. How to practice and teach EBM. San Diego: Harcourt‐Brace, 2000.
5Moyer VA, Elliott EJ, Davis RL, et al, eds. Evidence based pediatrics and child health. Issue 1. London: BMJ Books, 2000.
PMCID: PMC2083694  PMID: 17376947
24.  Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy in Children with Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders: Consensus Statement of a UK Multidisciplinary Working Party 
During 2008, ENT-UK received a number of professional enquiries from colleagues about the management of children with upper airway obstruction and uncomplicated obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). These children with sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBDs) are usually referred to paediatricians and ENT surgeons.
In some district general hospitals, (DGHs) where paediatric intensive care (PICU) facilities to ventilate children were not available, paediatrician and anaesthetist colleagues were expressing concern about children with a clinical diagnosis of OSA having routine tonsillectomy, with or without adenoidectomy.
As BAPO President, I was asked by the ENT-UK President, Professor Richard Ramsden, to investigate the issues and rapidly develop a working consensus statement to support safe but local treatment of these children.
The Royal Colleges of Anaesthetists and Paediatrics and Child Health and the Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists nominated expert members from both secondary and tertiary care to contribute and develop a consensus statement based on the limited evidence base available.
Our terms of reference were to produce a statement that was brief, with a limited number of references, to inform decision-making at the present time.
With patient safety as the first priority, the working party wished to support practice that facilitated referral to a tertiary centre of those children who could be expected, on clinical assessment alone, potentially to require PICU facilities. In contrast, the majority of children who could be safely managed in a secondary care setting should be managed closer to home in a DGH.
BAPO, ENT-UK, APA, RCS-CSF and RCoA have endorsed the consensus statement; the RCPCH has no mechanism for endorsing consensus statements, but the RCPCH Clinical Effectiveness Committee reviewed the statement, concluding it was a ‘concise, accurate and helpful document’.
The consensus statement is an interim working tool, based on level-five evidence. It is intended as the starting point to catalyze further development towards a fully structured, evidence-based guideline; to this end, feedback and comment are welcomed. This and the constructive feedback from APA and RCPCH will be incorporated into a future guideline proposal.
PMCID: PMC2758429  PMID: 19622257
Consensus statement; Children; Sleep-related breathing disorders; Tonsillectomy; Adenoidectomy
25.  Sending parents outpatient letters about their children: parents' and general practitioners' views. 
Quality in Health Care  1994;3(3):142-146.
Parents' cooperation is essential to ensuring implementation of effective healthcare management of children, and complete openness should exist between paediatricians and parents. One method of achieving this is to send parents a copy of the outpatient letter to the general practitioner (GP) after the child's outpatient consultation. To determine the views of parents and GPs a pilot survey was conducted in two general children's outpatient clinics in hospitals in Newcastle upon Tyne. In March and April 1991 a postal questionnaire was sent to 57 parents of children attending the clinics, and a similar questionnaire to their GPs to elicit, respectively, parents' understanding of the letter and perception of its helpfulness, and GPs' views on the value of sending the letters to parents. Completed questionnaires were received from 34(60%) parents and 47(82%) GPs; 26(45%) respondents were matched pairs. 27(79%) parents said they understood all of the letter, 19(56%) that it helped their understanding, 32(94%) felt it was a good idea, and 31(91%) made positive comments. In all, 29(61%) GPs favoured the idea and six (13%) did not. Eleven (23%) said they would be concerned if this became routine practice, and 20(74%) of the 27 providing comments were doubtful or negative; several considered that they should communicate information to parents. The views in the matched pairs were dissimilar: parents were universally in favour whereas many GPs had reservations. The authors concluded that sending the letters improved parents' satisfaction with communication, and they recommend that paediatricians consider adopting this practice.
PMCID: PMC1055217  PMID: 10139411

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