Preschool immunisation rates in London, especially against measles, mumps and rubella, are among the worst in England and at a ten-year low. Too many of London’s children are not fully protected, and this is worse in deprived areas and among certain ethnic groups. We are leading a programme to help primary care teams turn this around.
The programme has been selected as a 'pathfinder' for the London Health Data Strategy. It launched in North East London in February 2022, with forthcoming pilots in South East and North West London.
Using data within the GP practice
Our quality improvement programme centres on a “call and recall” software tool, APL-Imms, which CEG has developed for use by GP practice teams.
The tool displays all relevant information from the practice’s patient records in one place. It allows practice staff to navigate the complex immunisation programme easily and work smarter when prioritising patients for appointments and reviewing immunisation records. Using this tool practice staff can quickly draw up a filtered list of children who are due or overdue for immunisations, see more detail on an individual with one click, and access direct links to vaccine information to inform their conversations with families. The tool supports a patient-centred and systematic approach that makes it easier for practice teams to ensure no child misses out.
APL-Imms is currently available to EMIS practices in the NHS North East London region, an area covering a population of 2.2 million people. In addition to step-by-step guidance and demo videos, CEG’s team of facilitators provide 1:1 training and support, and data entry templates to ensure the tool has high-quality coded data to draw from. Practices in North East London who use the EMIS clinical system should speak to their CEG facilitator to access the tool. We are working on a version suitable for practices using SystmOne, which we plan to release later this year.
Near-real time intelligence
As the programme develops, we will be introducing dashboards and maps that use aggregated near-real time data to highlight areas where timely immunisation is particularly low. These resources will be available to local authorities and NHS commissioners to inform public health campaigns and local initiatives to prevent disease outbreaks.
Working with practices, parents and the public
Our project team are working closely with parents, primary care staff and local organisations to understand the barriers and concerns that prevent immunisation in young children. From these conversations, we will gain insights on how to improve access to services and better communications with parents to support timely and equitable childhood vaccinations.
As a Pathfinder project for the London Health Data Strategy, the learning from our approach to health improvement using data will be shared as an exemplar for assuring data quality and responsible curation at source.
CEG team: Ana Gutierrez, Anna Billington, Carol Dezateux, Gill Harper, Isabel Dostal, Kate Homer, Milena Marszalek, Nicola Firman, Zaheer Ahmed
In collaboration with:
Sian Howell, Clinical Effectiveness South East London (CESEL)
Kavitha Saravanakumar, North West London CCG/ICS
Ngawai Moss, Parent and founding member of Katie’s Team
Funding and support
This programme is jointly funded by the London Health Data Strategy partners, which include NHS England (London region), the five London ICSs and a number of London’s NHS organisations and universities, and further supported through Health Data Research UK. The programme builds on CEG’s previous work to improve childhood immunisation rates which was funded by NHS North East London Clinical Commissioning Group’s Digital First programme and Barts Charity REAL Health programme.