The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health is hosting a new online support tool to provide specialist diagnostic advice for healthcare professionals, in the hope of cutting child deaths.

The Paediatric Care Online service, known as PCO UK, has been funded by the Department of Health and developed by a partnership group of royal medical colleges and similar bodies in the hope of reducing the 2,000 avoidable child deaths that occur in the UK each year.

It delivers decision support tools, known as Key Practice Points, to help paediatricians, GPs, nurses and other professionals to deliver the right treatment to a child at the earliest opportunity; while giving them the confidence to decide which cases can be safely managed at home.

Dr Hilary Cass, clinical lead for PCO UK, said: “It will improve patient safety and reduce hospital admissions by providing healthcare professionals with immediate, professionally assured, evidence-based guidance, together with a host of supporting reference materials and patient/carer information.

“This will enable professionals to diagnose early, treat, prescribe or signpost timely referral to the most appropriate service.”

The tool has been developed by a partnership comprising the RCPCH, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the Royal College of Nursing, the Institute of Health Visiting and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

It includes access to the British National Formulary for Children, Public Health England’s Green Book on immunisations against infectious disease, and the RCPCH child protection companion.

Healthcare professionals can get free, open access to the Key Practice Point on ‘fever’, while PCO UK will be included in RCPCH membership from January this year.

Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP, said: “The resource is quick and easy to use and gives us quick access to the latest clinical guidelines and resources. This is very welcome at a time when GPs and our teams are under intense resource and workforce pressures.”