Hospitals damned for failing child patients

1 Mar 07
Children's services in hospitals are poor because they are underfunded and not given the priority they deserve, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said this week.

02 March 2007

Children's services in hospitals are poor because they are underfunded and not given the priority they deserve, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said this week.

A damning report from the Healthcare Commission, published on February 28, rated three-quarters of hospitals 'fair' or 'weak' for the services they provide to children.

The commission found that many hospitals were struggling to implement the National Service Framework for Children, which was launched in 2003. They were failing to provide training in areas such as life support, pain assessment, child protection, communication and play. While 95% of nurses treating children should be trained in child protection, 58% of trusts did not meet this standard.

It also had concerns over the safety and quality of medical and surgical care in a small number of trusts – surgeons did not operate on enough children to maintain their skills in 8% of trusts.

The college said the commission's findings were 'unacceptable' but unsurprising, as 'children's services have long been under-resourced'.

It called for a radical shake-up in the services, saying: 'The report confirms our view that we cannot sustain the present number of paediatric units with our current workforce. It is inevitable that some units will close, but only if this ultimately results in a better service for children and young people.'

Commission chair Sir Ian Kennedy said the failings had to be addressed urgently. 'Until these issues are tackled, the care made available to children is going to leave too many children at risk.'

PFmar2007

Did you enjoy this article?

AddToAny

Have your say

Top