An innovative new health app for parents and carers of children aged 0-5 has been launched by the local NHS and Cheshire East Council.
The CATCH app, which can also be used by expectant parents, is now available for free on the App Store for iPhones and iPads and will be available on Play Store for Androids and tablets from 1 March.
The app was developed by East Cheshire CCG and, NHS South Cheshire CCG and the council to provide:
- 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.
The app is also 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.
CATCH came about as a result of a study undertaken by the council’s Public Health department, which found that A&E attendance among 0-4 year olds in Cheshire East is much higher than the national average.
And while taking children to A&E is the right thing to do in some circumstances, research has shown that a large number of Cheshire East parents are being given advice and a leaflet rather than treatment for their child. This suggests that self-care would have been a better option for many of the children.
Dr Lesley Bayliss, NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG’s clinical champion for children, said: “There could be many reasons behind this trend, but it’s likely that some parents lack the confidence and knowledge to know when their child needs medical treatment and when self-care would be more appropriate.
“A lot of work has gone into the CATCH app and we believe it will act as a highly useful tool for those who care for young children in Cheshire East.”
CATCH stands for Common Approach to Children’s Health, reflecting the joined-up approach to care that is being promoted in Cheshire East. In the NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG area this is called Caring Together and in the South Cheshire area it’s called Connecting Care.
Dr Bayliss added: “CATCH is right in line with the Caring Together philosophy of empowering people to take the best possible care of themselves while reducing avoidable demand on hard-pressed urgent and emergency care services.
“I really hope that people embrace the app and generally adopt the self-care approach where appropriate, which is not only beneficial to the patient, but also eases pressure on the NHS.
“We want Cheshire East to be the best place in the country for children to grow up in, and this app is a great step towards achieving that goal.”
For more information on CATCH or to download it, visit catchapp.co.uk.