Healthcare Commission Criticises Hospital Care For Children

Only 25% of hospitals meet the government’s required standards for the care of children. That is the conclusion of a report “Improving Services For Children In Hospital”, published by the government’s health watchdog, the Healthcare Commission.

The Healthcare Commission rated all hospitals providing services to children and assessed whether they meet or are making progress towards standards set by the government in 2003.

The report makes alarming reading for parents, with 16% of trusts with paediatric units saying that they did not meet the minimum professional standards of medical and surgical care. The reason given by those hospitals was that they had too few children admitted to their hospitals for their doctors to develop their skills.

The report found that one in eight hospitals have insufficient qualified staff to provide life support to children during the day, with that figure rising to almost one in five hospitals unable to provide life support services to children at night.

The Healthcare Commission have made a number of recommendations, including that hospital trusts need to ensure that they provide an adequate number of appropriately trained and skilled staff.

This is a continuation of a disturbing trend, where hospitals are unable to provide sufficient numbers of adequately skilled surgeons and anaesthetists, as was highlighted by one hospital recently threatening to stop carrying out emergency surgery because of a lack of skilled staff.

At Gadsby Wicks we have for some years been hearing of doctors’ concerns over the training of junior doctors. In an effort to cut waiting lists, much routine NHS surgery is now contracted out to private treatment centres, which means that junior doctors now have fewer opportunities to hone their skills. It is worrying that the NHS appears to be creating a skills shortage and that this skills shortage appears to be affecting patient safety.

Posted 28th February 2007 | Posted in News,Uncategorised