Family health app set for North East roll out after launch in Sunderland

Line up L-R: Laura Hope Sunderland CCG, Jackie Russell Practice Manager, Rickleton Medical Centre, Councillor Pat Smith.
Line up L-R: Laura Hope Sunderland CCG, Jackie Russell Practice Manager, Rickleton Medical Centre, Councillor Pat Smith.
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A health app designed and created by health professionals is set to benefit families across the North East following its successful launch in Sunderland.

The common childhood illnesses app, which is also available as a 64-page booklet, was the brainchild of health professionals in the Washington locality, with support from NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

“This is a real success story for Sunderland.”

Dr Tracey Lucas

Aimed at parents of under-fives, the app has already been downloaded 1,527 times, and its success has persuaded the NHS to develop a new regional version to be launched across the North East later this summer.

Dr Tracey Lucas, GP and lead for urgent care at NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Childhood illnesses can be worrying and upsetting but parents and carers throughout Sunderland are using the app in large numbers to ensure they know when and where to get the help they need.

“We have had a lot of positive feedback from parents, who find the app gives them the confidence to find the best way to help their child get better quickly.

“This can mean choosing the right service for your child, as well as identifying whether they can be treated at home with advice from a pharmacist.

“This is a real success story for Sunderland.

“The app was developed by health professionals here in Washington with support from Indigo Multi-Media, so it’s great to think it could now benefit almost 150,000 under-fives in the wider North East.”

The app, which is packed with information about illnesses from asthma and teething to chickenpox and head lice, can be downloaded from the Google Play store or the Apple app store.

The booklet is available online at www.sunderlandccg.nhs.uk or from GP surgeries, health visitors, nurseries, urgent care centres or the Emergency Department (formerly A&E).

The new app will be launched across the North East later this summer by the North East Urgent and Emergency Care Network, which is working to transform the urgent and emergency care system, reducing variation and improving the quality and safety of services.

Families who have already downloaded the app will automatically receive a chance to upgrade to the new version.

The network recently received £2.9million in funding from the NHS’s New Models of Care programme for a range of pioneering projects, such as improving the NHS 111 service through extra clinical support, and a new hi-tech ‘flight deck’ for more sophisticated management of urgent and emergency care capacity across the region.

Dr Stewart Findlay, chair of the North East Urgent and Emergency Care Network, said: “We are working to develop better coordination of the urgent and emergency care system, provide easier access to GPs and pharmacists, reduce the pressure on emergency services and improve integration of out-of-hospital care.

“We all worry when our little ones are unwell, so it’s easy to panic and access emergency care for something that could be treated safely at home or by seeking non-urgent help from a GP or pharmacist.

“This successful app will help parents gain confidence in recognising common illnesses, and reduce the pressure on emergency services.”

The new regional app will be launched in September.