Transition from paediatric surgery: how many patients do we need to plan for?

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Transitional care is an NHS priority with newly published NICE guidance. Many paediatric surgical patients need quality care to continue into adulthood. We undertook an evaluation of our departmental activity to assess the magnitude of this issue.


We identified all outpatients ≥ 15 years (potentially requiring imminent transition) seen over a 12 month period for all five general paediatric surgery consultants in our tertiary centre. Those patients requiring transition were highlighted and the appropriate adult team for referral recorded.


There were 2989 general paediatric surgery clinic appointments within the year; 289 (9.7%) were for young people aged 15 years or older; 62 patients (28% of those ≥ 15years) were deemed to require transition into adult care. Significantly more patients having colorectal surgery required follow-up (P = 0.0009 Chi-square test) compared with patients in other subspecialties.


More patients than expected required transition. This may be the case in other units. Current best practice includes time intensive preclinic planning, careful preparation of patient and family, followed by joint clinics. A joint clinic appointment takes 30 minutes, allowing for comprehensive handover and forging new relationships. In our department, we need at least ten transition clinics across 2 years. Coalition with adult colleagues is vital. These data enable us to plan services to provide quality care for our adolescent patients and highlights colorectal surgery as a priority.

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