Professor Mitch Blair and Professor Michael Rigby from the Paediatric Division of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial, together with European colleagues, have been awarded a large grant by the European Commission – Directorate General for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 programme to study and evaluate models of child primary care in Europe.
The project: MOCHA Models of Child Health Appraised will see Imperial College project staff working with 19 scientific partners from 10 European countries, plus Switzerland, the United States and Australia; as well as with country agents in 30 European Commission and European Economic Area countries.
The project began on 1st June with a three-month preparation phase, including creating a project website, prior to an active research programme commencing on 1st September 2015 continuing until the late autumn of 2018.
Principal Investigator Professor Blair explained:
“Children are an important population group in their own right, but also are the future of Europe, its society and its workforce. Thus children’s health is vital to children and for a healthy Europe”.
“However, there is no consensus on the best way of providing primary health care for children. Different countries favour different models, of which two main ones are generalist general practitioners seeing the child in the family context, and primary care paediatricians with focussed expertise. Until now there is no research which shows which model is most effective, which also implies that some children are likely to be receiving sub-optimal care.”
MOCHA will obtain and analyse key information on a range of child primary care topics, such as:
- Models of primary care delivered to children (including urgent care)
- Delivery of care across organisational boundaries (with secondary care, social care, education and so on) including complex care, and services for child protection
- School health services, and direct access services for adolescents
- Identification of innovative measures of quality and outcome
- Identification of derivatives from large data sets to measure quality and outcome
- Economic and Skill Set analyses
- Ensuring Equity for all children
- Use of electronic records in child health
An independent Expert Panel from 10 countries and 15 different organisations or paediatric and public health associations will validate the scientific enquiries made of country agents, and review the findings. Views of service users will be sought throughout the project, and there will be an active engagement and dissemination programme.
The project will be managed from Imperial College, coordinating the work of 11 separate work packages run by experts from European research institutions, including researchers from Imperial College.
This will be one of the largest and most ambitious project to look at child health services in Europe. Focusing on prevention and wellness, its results will demonstrate the optimal model(s) of child primary care. Alongside the results, the MOCHA project will analyse the factors (including cultural factors) which might facilitate the adoption of recommendations, and indications for policy makers of both the health and economic gains possible. Throughout its life, the project will have a strong dissemination programme, ensuring that dialogue with the public, professionals, policy makers and politicians is maintained and taken into account during the research.
Within its 42-month timescale, the MOCHA project will deliver major awareness and potential benefit for European children’s health and a healthy society.