POPS -The Paediatric Observation Priority Score

Latest News

Working with the mathematics department we have looked at missing data and used it to explore clinical practice.

What can the randomness of missing values tell you about clinical practice in large data sets of children's vital signs?

A new POPS app is available - now on both the App store and Google Play

Thanks to colleagues at Musgrove Grove Park Hospital for creating the app - its was shortlisted in the recent Patient Safety Awards!

Recent Research

Adam Bonfield has further expanded on Lisa Langton's initial work on examining the inter-rater reliability of POPS

Lisa Langton (Paediatric Advance Nurse Practitioner) and Adam Bonfield (Paediatric Academic Clinical Fellow) published their work on demonstrating the reliability of POPS between staff. POPS performs extremely well, if not better, against similar systems!

The initial validation cohort of POPS has over 3000 patients assessed over 4 hospitals.

Baseline Characteristics of the Paediatric Observation Priority Score in Emergency Departments outside Its Centre of Derivation

The first cohort study of POPS describes our experience with over 900 patients

The Paediatric Observation Priority Score: A System to Aid Detection of Serious Illness and Assist in Safe Discharge


  • The first initial results form the large scale review of POPS have been released. POPS looking promising as a safe, and effective, assessment measure

The Paediatric Observation Priority Score (POPS): Outcomes Of 24000 Patients

  • POPS highlighted as useful by external research team

A group from Manchester found POPS correctly predicted 85% of children who could be discharged from the hospital. Click for the abstract and for press release.

Quick Links

A video explaining the POPS score can be found here.

Links to resources, presentations, posters and research documents

Important note regarding the use of POPS

The success of the POPS system has led to spread in a number of Emergency Departments around the UK. Please do let us know if you are considering using POPS in your department. Ongoing data for validation is important and we would like to collect this where possible. It is possible that POPS has utility in settings outside of Emergency Departments such as GP Practices and urgent care centres. POPS has not been validated in these settings and should be therefore used with caution. We are looking to undertake trials in this regard and are happy to discuss this with interested parties.



Clinicians in primary care, secondary care and the ambulance service often struggle to identify and prioritise children due to a low incidence of serious illness in the UK, and lack of clear discriminators identifying serious illness. Recent reports from the National Patient Safety Agency and Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Deaths recommend national uptake of a system to identify children who may be seriously unwell.


The Paediatric Observation Priority Score (POPS) is a checklist which quickly scores (between 0-16) acutely ill children on a combination of physiological, behavioural and risk identifiers using easy to collect data. This enables staff (even if inexperienced) to assess, prioritise and treat acutely ill children, and manage risk in busy clinical areas. Aside from the rapid detection of critically unwell children potential cost savings include fewer referrals for hospital treatment (current risk-averse practice results in over-referral), fewer serious adverse events (missed serious illness) and reducing numbers or costs of litigation claims.


POPS Da Vinci LogoPS 2013 Logo

POPS has been awarded a Da Vinci Health Technology Award which has enabled an electronic prototype to be developed and has been shortlisted for a Patient Safety award. The amalgamation of POPS into a handheld, tablet or computer based system would enable both interface with NHS systems and also colloborative opportunities throughout the world.


Roland D, Gareth L and Davies F.  Addition of a subjective nursing assessment improves specificity of a tool to predict admission of children to hospital from an emergency department. e-Poster at European Paediatric Research Society Newcastle 2011 link to abstract

Roland D, Gareth L and Davies F. Determining the effect of objective and subjective criteria on a risk assessment tool in a paediatric emergency department. Oral Presentation at College of Emergency Medicine Conference (top scoring abstract in APEM group) Gateshead 2011 link to abstract


International Forum of Quality and Safety in Health Care 2013 - Maintaining safety while reducing admission in high risk patient group

Agents for Change Conference - Assisting Safe discharge of potentially high risk patients

College of Emergency Medicine 2010 conference - Developing a Paediatric Observation Priority Score - The challenge of using scoring systems to define hospital admission

Research Related

Research and Development Form

Ethics Approval (Front page only)


POPS chart

Idemnity Form

Statistician letter

Return to Dr. Damian Roland's homepage or vist the PEMLA website

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