For information relating to the Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network and its monitoring of COVID-19 please click here

If you have any further queries please email picanet@leeds.ac.uk 

PICANet collects data from Level 3 (Paediatric Intensive Care) Units and has been commissioned by NHS England and Improvement to undertake a 2-year development project to expand its clinical audit to include data collection and reporting of children in discrete Level 2 PCC units (sometimes referred to as ‘High Dependency Units’). Please see our Level 2 Expansion page for more information.

PICANet was established to develop and maintain a secure and confidential high quality clinical database of paediatric intensive care activity in order to:

  • Identify best clinical practice
  • Monitor supply and demand
  • Monitor and review outcomes of treatment episodes
  • Facilitate healthcare planning and quantify resource requirements
  • Study the epidemiology of critical illness in children

PICANet collects three core datasets:

Admission data: The demographic and clinical data on all admissions, collated by PICANet, allows comparison of PICU activity at a local level with national benchmarks such as PCCS Standards. This dataset provides an important evidence base on outcomes, processes and structures that permits planning for future practice, audit and interventions.

Referral and Transport data: This enables us to compare and audit these important aspects of care for children who need paediatric intensive care.

Examples of the Data Collection forms we use are available in the Data Collection section.

Each year PICANet produces audit reports to show the changes and comparisons over the three year reporting period. All annual reports are accessible in the  Annual Report section.

Background & Funding

The Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network (PICANet) was established in 2002 by the Universities of Leeds, Leicester and Sheffield with the support of the paediatric intensive care community and their active support continues to be a key component of our successful progress.

PICANet is an audit database recording details of the treatment of all critically ill children in paediatric intensive care units (PICUs). We have now expanded to include two sites in Dublin – Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin and The Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street and also joined by The Harley Street Clinic and The Portland Hospital for Women and Children in London.

Since November 2002, all NHS PICUs within England and Wales outside the Pan Thames region have been collecting data on consecutive admissions to their units. The Pan Thames units began data collection in March 2003, and the PICU at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh in December 2004. The Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Glasgow in March 2007 and The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in April 2008. Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin and the Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, both based in Dublin, have submitted anonymised data to PICANet from 2010. The non-NHS Harley Street Clinic PICU started contributing data in September 2010 followed by The Portland Hospital for Women and Children PICU in July 2013, to allow them to compare their performance against the national benchmark provided by PICANet.

The PICANet Audit is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National Clinical Audit Programme (NCA). HQIP is led by a consortium of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Royal College of Nursing and National Voices. Its aim is to promote quality improvement, and in particular to increase the impact that clinical audit has on healthcare quality in England and Wales. HQIP holds the contract to manage and develop the NCA Programme, comprising more than 30 clinical audits that cover care provided to people with a wide range of medical, surgical and mental health conditions. The PICANet Audit is funded by NHS England, NHS Wales, NHS Lothian/National Service Division NHS Scotland, the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, The National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA), Republic of Ireland and HCA Healthcare.

PICANet has support and approval from the Health Research Authority Confidentiality Advisory Group to process confidential patient information without consent for both non-research and research purposes under Regulation 5 of the Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002 (’section 251 support’ of the NHS Act 2006) for data collected in England and Wales. The references are: 21/CAG/0090 (non-research) and 21/CAG/0098 (research) and support is reviewed annually. Further details and assurances can be found in our Patient Privacy Notice and Fair Processing Statement.

PICANet clinical audit data has been granted an exemption from the National Data Opt-Out (in England) by the Health Research Authority Clinical Advisory Group. This is because the absence of even one child’s data can lead to inaccurate conclusions. This means that if a National Data Opt-Out has been set, data can be entered into the PICANet web database.

However, from 31st July 2022, PICANet will apply the National Data Opt-Out to the research database for data received from English hospitals. This means that the data will not be included in any approved research projects.

The research database has ethical approval granted by the East Midlands – Derby Research Ethics Committee (ref. 18/EM/0267) and annual reports are provided to the committee.

The Understanding Practice in Clinical Audit and Registries (UPCARE) tool is a protocol to describe the key features of clinical audits and registries. It has been designed to provide a “one-stop” summary of the key information about how clinical audits and registries have been designed and carried out. The PICANet UPCARE tool, designed by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), can be accessed here.


Please visit the PICANet News section for more regular updates.