Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health

                                        Improving the health of mothers, babies and children

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How is the child health enquiry set up?

The development of the new child health enquiry programme is advised by a national, multi-sectoral panel of experts known as the National Advisory Committee for Enquiries into Child Health (NACECH).  The NACECH is chaired by Professor Deirdre Kelly, Medical Director of Birmingham Children’s Hospital.


Current activities of the child health enquiry

Three directions for development for the child health enquiry were identified through an open topic invitation/ selection process in late 2004. For more information on the topic selection process and the shortlisted topics, please click here.  These include an overview of child deaths, unintentional injury, with a focus on head injury, and child protection. The child death review is currently underway and early planning has begun for a project on head injury in children.


CEMACH Child Death Review Pilot Project

The Child Death Review will seek to obtain an overview of all child deaths from 28 days to 18 years over a one year period (2006) in the South West, West Midlands, North East of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Core data on all child deaths identified in these regions will be collected and detailed local multidisciplinary reviews will be conducted on a subset of deaths with a focus on identifying preventable and avoidable factors. It is thus envisaged that this project will draw out and report on lessons for national learning in child health as is currently achieved by CEMACH’s well-known maternal death review, ‘Why Mothers Die'. 

A protocol and core data set for the CEMACH Child Death Review Pilot Project have been developed by the project working group which includes lead clinicians from each of the participating regions. The NACECH as well as other key stakeholders have given considerable input on the protocol to date and have been invited to review the core data set.

The outputs for this project will inform both future CEMACH confidential enquiries into child health issues as well as future data collection of all child deaths by Local Safeguarding Children’s Boards on behalf of the Department for Education and Skills.  CEMACH has and will continue to work closely with the DfES to this regard.

Project protocol

Core data set

First Interim Report - September 2006

Children's participation

Following recommendations from the Patient Information Advisory Group (PIAG), CEMACH commissioned the National Children’s Bureau (NCB) to undertake a consultation exercise with young people between the ages of 14-18 to discuss the ethical issues and sensitivities associated with the collection of information about children that die specifically within this age group.  These consultations took place at 2 locations within the London area in February 2006. 


The young people involved in these consultations were able to identify CEMACH’s work as valuable and highlighted the significant educational and preventative impact this could have on children’s lives.  There was consensus among both groups that “the benefits of collecting data in this way would always outweigh the sensitivities, as it can prevent similar situations happening again”.  Following the success of these consultations, CEMACH is currently considering ways in which young people can continue to be involved in the Child Health strand of CEMACH’s work. 

Findings from the consultations with young people regarding the CEMACH Child Death Review - a report from the NCB (257kB)

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