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CATCH app is catching on!

Parents of pre-school children have given a big thumbs up to an award-winning health app that helps them take great care of their little ones.

In a survey of people using the free CATCH app, 531 (92 per cent) of those who replied, said they would recommend it to family and friends.

CATCH went live in Cheshire West on 1 April after more than six years in Cheshire East. It offers top tips on treating minor ailments in 0 to 5 year olds, and helps users prevent accidents and illness. It offers advice on when to seek medical advice and has lots of information for expectant mums and dads too.

The app was developed in 2016 by Liverpool-based health technology studio Damibu Ltd in collaboration with NHS Cheshire CCG and Cheshire East Council.

One parent who took the survey said: “This app has saved my life – the number of times I’ve needed ideas to help my child or had a look at things that will help her as she grows. I recommend the app to everyone.”

And 525 (90 per cent) of survey respondents said that CATCH had helped them feel more confident to care for their child.

Of 306 people answering a question on what the app had helped them with, the most frequent responses were:

  • childhood vaccinations (194 responses, 63 per cent)
  • exercise and play ideas (100, 33 per cent)
  • breastfeeding (98, 32 per cent).

In its first month in Cheshire West, CATCH was downloaded 129 times with 100 people using it more than once. Cheshire wide, there were 979 users at the end of May.

The app offers:

  • NHS-approved health advice
  • highly localised information about healthcare services and support groups
  • timely notifications about key health dates such as childhood immunisations
  • an interactive map of 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.

Anyone can download the app but the interactive content is only available to people with postcodes in areas where commissioners have adopted it.

CATCH, which stands for Common Approach to Children’s Health, was developed after a study by Cheshire East Council’s public health team found that A&E attendance among 0-4 year olds in the area 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.

Charlotte Rowland, the CCG’s clinical lead for paediatrics, said: “The app is a superb resource for parents and parents-to-be, and 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.”

Dr Hina Khan, the CCG’s clinical lead for maternity services, said: "As a parent myself, I completely understand how daunting the first few years of your child's life can be. Having a resource that you can look at and turn to anytime of the day is something I personally would have welcomed. With this in mind, I’m encouraging all parents to try the CATCH app to help increase their confidence and give their children the best start to life."

Dr Ian Ashworth, director of public health at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “Ensuring that children and young people across Cheshire West are physically and emotionally healthy is a key priority for us, and we know that the first few years of life are a critical period for a child’s development.  I welcome the CATCH app as a service which provides vital information for parents on subjects including infant feeding, safety at home and vaccinations.”

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.