Intended for healthcare professionals


Lost in transition? Between paediatric and adult services

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 23 February 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:435
  1. Janet E McDonagh, ARC senior lecturer in paediatric and adolescent rheumatology (,
  2. Russell M Viner, consultant-honorary senior lecturer in adolescent medicine and endocrinology
  1. Institute of Child Health, University of Birmingham at Birmingham Children's Hospital, Birmingham B4 6NH
  2. University College Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital, London

    It's time to improve the transition of adolescents from paediatric to adult services

    P reventing adolescents becoming lost in the transfer between paediatric and adult health services is a major challenge for healthcare providers, paediatric and adult alike. Until recently British health services have largely ignored adolescents.1 But as increasing numbers of young people are surviving into adulthood with illnesses they developed in childhood, the need for transitional care appropriate to their age and development is becoming more obvious and acute.2 Adolescence is also a time when adult behaviours become established and therefore represents a window of opportunity to promote healthy behaviour and influence the public health burden of tomorrow's adults.1

    Transitional care is a multidimensional, multidisciplinary process that addresses not only the medical needs of adolescents as they move from children's services to adult services but also their psychosocial, educational, and vocational needs. The need for such services has been shown by many surveys of young people with various chronic conditions and their care givers,36 and is supported by policy documents in the United Kingdom and United States.29 To date, however, there …

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