Meeting the health needs of looked-after children in Scotland

The overall aim of this study is to examine looked after children’s use of unscheduled health care in Scotland, comparing those living at home with parents to those living away from home in, for example, kinship care, foster care or residential care. This project aims to use data linked from the Primary Care Out of Hours Service; the Scottish Ambulance Service; A&E (hospital Accident & Emergency); SMR01 inpatients and day cases; NHS24 call data; and local authority data about looked after children. 

Key questions 

The research project aims to address the following questions: 

  • What minimum set of additional identifiers (i.e. partial or full name, date of birth, gender, postcode) is required from the Children Looked After Records (CLAS) to provide for a robust and secure linkage to health data via the Community Health Index Data base whilst maintaining privacy? 

  • What are the differences in use of unscheduled care between children looked after at home by parents or guardians, and those looked after away from home for all ages? 

Potential benefits 

This work is essential, as there is currently no other robust methodology to permit this type of analysis. Exploration of the method which allows this gap to be addressed while protecting privacy is required. 

Project lead

Fiona Mitchell (University of Strathclyde; Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research).

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