Very few medicines are designed specifically for children or undergo rigorous testing in clinical trials with children. As a result children are often prescribed medicines ‘off label’ (e.g. not at the recommended dose or course of treatment).

Despite drug monitoring systems, e.g. the YellowCard Scheme, being in place there is a lack of information on the safety and effectiveness of medicines used in children.

In Scotland each individual has a unique Community Health Index (CHI) number used in all contacts with the NHS and this gives us the opportunity to link the information held by GPs, hospitals and pharmacies to investigate the safety and effectiveness of medicines used to treat children.

CHIMES brings together researchers from University of Aberdeen and Information Services Division (ISD) of National Services Scotland to establish

  • what children, and their parents/guardians, think about their healthcare data being linked and used for pharmacovigilance studies?
  • the views and opinions of key healthcare professionals about data linkage and this secondary use of healthcare data for research.
  • how accurately and completely national healthcare datasets can be linked?
  • how linked healthcare data can be used to ensure safer and more effective medicines for children i.e. what signals are there in linked healthcare data that could indicate potential adverse drug reactions in children?