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Episode 072: The NICE traffic light system to assess sick children is not suitable for use as a clinical tool in general practice

In this episode we talk to Amy Clark who is a final year medical student at Cardiff and Dr Kathryn Hughes who is a GP and senior clinical lecturer at PRIME Centre Wales at the School of Medicine at Cardiff University.

Paper: Accuracy of the NICE traffic light system in children presenting to general practice: a retrospective cohort study

https://doi.org/10.3399/BJGP.2021.0633

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) traffic light system is widely used in general practice for the assessment of unwell children; however, the majority of previous studies validating this tool have been conducted in secondary care settings. To that authors’ knowledge, no studies have validated this tool within UK general practice. This study found that the traffic light system cannot accurately detect or exclude serious illness in children presenting to UK general practice with an acute illness. The conclusion reached was that it cannot be relied on by clinicians for the assessment of acutely unwell children and that it is unsuitable for use as a clinical decision tool.

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