This network is called the General and Adolescent Paediatric Research network in the UK and Ireland and is known by the acronym GAPRUKI. In developed countries the majority of secondary care of children and young people (CYP) occurs in ‘General and Adolescent’ Paediatric units. In fact in the UK there is an estimate that 80% of all paediatrics is conducted by General Paediatricians. Much of the care conducted in these busy units has a poor evidence base and is often under-researched. Some common examples include the use of paracetamol and ibuprofen for fever, the management of chronic fatigue syndrome, the treatment and investigation of sepsis in babies, the management of asthma, the treatment of chronic constipation and the treatment and investigation of urinary tract infections.
General Paediatric research is challenging for a number of reasons:
1. Serious outcomes and adverse events are rare.
2. Data collected in tertiary institutions are not necessarily applicable to other settings.
3. Much acute in-patient care is short term (stays of 24 hours or less)
4. Patients are often treated differently according to local policies.
5. Funding for General Paediatric research is limited.
6. Sharing of information between institutions is often restricted.
7. Difficulty in disseminating findings and translation of science into practice.
8. With a research focus on rare and specialist disorders, common conditions can be overlooked.
9. Lack of experience of research amongst general paediatricians and general paediatric trainees.
10. Little/no job planned activities to support research in general paediatric consultant job plans.
GAPRUKI has been established to form a network of research focused General Paediatricians and child health professionals throughout the hospitals of the UK and Ireland to overcome the challenges inherent in recruiting and performing research with children who present with common problems to General Paediatric units.
The structure and governance of GAPRUKI is based on other national and international research networks such as PERUKI (www.peruki.org). We acknowledge the start-up help, advice, and support of individuals affiliated with PERUKI, in the creation of GAPRUKI and this operational policy.