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CATCH app: An early Christmas present for new parents

With Christmas just days away, the NHS is urging Cheshire East parents of pre-school children to download a free app if their little ones are under the weather.

The award-winning CATCH app offers top tips on treating minor ailments in 0 to 5 year olds, helping them get fighting fit for the festivities ahead.

CATCH also helps parents and carers to prevent accidents and illness, and to know when to seek medical advice. It has lots of advice for expectant mums and dads too.

NHS Cheshire CCG is promoting the app as part of a #GetWellForChristmas campaign that is supporting people to choose the right care at the right time to get better quickly and ease strain on the NHS as it heads into an extremely challenging winter.

CATCH was developed by Liverpool-based health technology studio Damibu Ltd in collaboration with the CCG and Cheshire East Council.

The app offers:

  • NHS-approved health advice
  • highly localised information about healthcare services and support groups available in Cheshire East
  • timely notifications about key health dates such as childhood immunisations
  • an interactive map of Cheshire East healthcare services such as GP surgeries, dentists and pharmacies.

CATCH is highly personalised as parents can input their child’s date of birth and it will only present health information and reminders that are relevant to their child’s age. Plans are being finalised to launch CATCH in Cheshire West early in the New Year. Until then, anyone can download the app but the interactive content is only available to people with a Cheshire East postcode.

CATCH, which stands for Common Approach to Children’s Health, was developed in 2016 after a study by the council’s public health team found that A&E attendance among 0-4 year olds in Cheshire East was much higher than the national average and that many of the children were being sent home with basic advice and information only. This suggested that self-care may have been a better option for many of the children.  

A subsequent survey of CATCH users found that 91 per cent would recommend the app to a friend or family member and 90 per cent reported that the app had improved their confidence with self-care while 48 per cent had not attended A&E with their child since downloading the app. In addition, 35 per cent of users who expressed a preference said CATCH had helped them feel more confident in self-caring for their child and in knowing where to find the best treatment. 

Charlotte Rowland, the CCG’s clinical lead for paediatrics, said: “No parent wants their little ones to be feeling poorly at such a magical time of the year. That’s why I’m recommending the CATCH app as a great early Christmas present for parents and parents-to-be. The app supports our aim to give children in Cheshire the best start in life.

“I’m confident that the age-appropriate information will help parents feel more confident in caring for their child and where and when to seek further advice or medical assessment.”

CATCH won the Innovation Award for the NHS in the North West in 2017 and was named an NHS Innovation Accelerator by NHS England. It was shortlisted for a Health Service Journal award in the category of "enhancing care by sharing data and information". It was also shortlisted for the Digital Entrepreneur Awards (North) - Digital Innovation in the Public Sector.

The app can be downloaded on Google Play or the App Store. For more information, visit www.catchapp.co.uk.

Email Kate Tattersall at the CCG for more information on CATCH.