by Sam Rostom, North Central London, Children and Young People’s Programme Director
How can you fix something… if you don’t know what the problem looks like?
Asthma affects a large number of children and young people in north-central London (NCL) and nationally. Approximately three people in every classroom have asthma, and it is the most significant reason for hospital attendance and admissions. We know that many of these admissions could have been avoided and, although much progress had been made across the last few years to improve asthma care, we all recognise that there is much more to do to improve the outcomes for our children and young people.
As a consequence, the Children & Young People transformation programme in NCL STP agreed that asthma was a key priority for the partnership, developing a shared vision for the NCL system and establishing a formal area of work.
However, the partnership needed to recognise its strengths, challenges and areas of opportunity in order to understand what was needed to improve across the sector. In NCL, we achieved this by working with Healthy London Partnership to undertake an asthma peer review, using the framework of the recently developed (and now refreshed) HLP London Asthma Standards
There were a number of benefits to undertaking the peer review but I think the most important are:
- Shared view of the asthma system
- Rapid sharing of insight and learning across the system during the review and beyond
- Catalyst for change and service improvement
- Independent support and challenge for colleagues
In addition, partnership members also reported that the process was itself really helpful, with the review providing each organisation involved a specific report to support local organisational improvement, alongside a full system-wide report which provided a clear set of recommendations to take forward.
NCL had already established a strong system-wide paediatric asthma network, however, the peer review provided our partnership with a shared view of asthma care in our area, galvanised change and helped to inform our priorities, including the need for a system response – it has been an invaluable resource.