Paediatrics and Neonatology National Clinical Programme

The National Clinical Programme for Paediatrics and Neonatology was established in 2011 as a joint initiative between the HSE and Faculty of Paediatrics at RCPI.

A number of changes to the Programme Structure and Team have occurred since it’s establishment. The Programme’s functions are evolving however the objectives continue to focus on improving outcomes for children and young people’s health and well-being through improvements in quality, access and value of healthcare services. The Programme collaborates with a range of stakeholders including clinicians, acute services, primary and community healthcare providers, policy makers, commissioning teams and other clinical programmes, to address key priorities to support the delivery of high quality care to ensure better health outcomes for children and young people.

The Programme is supported in its work by the Paediatric Clinical Advisory Group and the Neonatal Clinical Advisory Group- both are clinical committees of the Faculty of Paediatrics at RCPI.

In identifying the key priorities to ensure the best health outcomes for children and young people, the National Clinical Programme will address health and well-being issues for infants and children up to 16 years of age. The programme also considers and advocates for transition services and health care improvements for young people aged 16-18, who fall outside the traditional paediatric services age group but who have specific needs from a health service.

Purpose of the National Clinical Programme for Paediatrics and Neonatology

  • Provide clinical expertise for the design and commissioning of health services for children
  • Promote and protect the interests of children and young people in terms of their health and well-being
  • Advocate for Improvements and investment on behalf of children and young people particularly in relation to health and wellbeing
  • Support the design of child and family centred care planning and delivery as close to home as possible
  • Enable collaborative interdisciplinary engagement to ensure that the delivery of children’s health care is streamlined and advanced efficiently
  • Support the Paediatric MOC Implementation Planning Team, Acute and Community Operations to ensure strategic investments are aligned to the Paediatric Model of Care
  • Develop guidelines and algorithms to help standardise clinical care nationally
  • Create a forum for evidence based design that supports sustainable and resilient integrated health services for children
  • Support children’ s services to enable improvements and standardisations across the health sector

Governance Structure

The National Clinical Programme for Paediatrics and Neonatology sits within the Clinical Design and Innovation Team of the HSE. The reporting relationship of the programme is through the National Clinical and Advisor Group Lead and the National Lead for Integrated Care to the Chief Clinical Officer. The programme is supported by the Paediatric and Neonatology Clinical Advisory Groups, RCPI and engages collaboratively with Children’s Health Ireland, regional/ local community/ acute healthcare services and other clinical programmes involved in the care of children.


National Clinical Lead for Children: Dr Ellen Crushell

National Clinical Lead for Neonatology: Dr John Murphy

National Clinical Lead for Paediatric Diabetes: Dr Nuala Murphy

Programme Manager: Ms Jacqueline de Lacy

Programme Contact:

Objectives of the National Clinical Programme for Paediatrics and Neonatology

The objectives of the Programme are focused on the areas of quality, access and value.


  • Ensure high quality standards of care are provided in all paediatric and neonatal units nationally through the development of a model of care for paediatrics and neonatology
  • Implement a national Paediatric Early Warning Score
  • Develop guidelines and algorithms to help standardise clinical care nationally


  • Extend the National Neonatal Transport Programme to a 24/7 service, and implement an efficient retrotransfer programme
  • Introduce a dedicated paediatric emergency transport service
  • Ensure all infants have rapid and equal access to neonatal intensive care and surgical treatment irrespective of geographical location
  • Reduce outpatient appointment wait times
  • Ensure access to insulin pump therapy for all children under 5 with type 1 diabetes


  • Eliminate duplication and fragmentation in the provision of specialist newborn intensive care services
  • Ensure all care is provided in the right setting, by the most appropriate clinician
  • Maintain child health through appropriate preventative initiatives: Screening, Nutrition and Immunisation.
  • Reduce HbA1c levels in children and adolescents with diabetes, thereby reducing long-term complications and adult healthcare utilisation