Standards of care in children's intensive care units come under scrutiny in a new audit report published today by the University of Leeds and the University of Leicester.
The report, commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership and carried out by the Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network (PICANet) showed that death rates in children's intensive care units are low and continue to fall. However, there continues to be a higher risk of mortality for children of south Asian origin observed in earlier years.
This national audit also found that only 5 children's intensive care units across Britain and Ireland were staffed with the number of qualified nurses recommended by the Paediatric Intensive Care Society.
Professor Elizabeth Draper, co-principal investigator of PICANet from the University of Leicester, commented: "There has been a decline in the number of children's intensive care units meeting the level of nurse staffing specified by their professional body. However, this is set against a low overall mortality rate and evidence that all institutions endeavour to provide the best quality facilities and information for parent and carers."
PICANet collected data from 31 institutions providing paediatric intensive care. They looked at details of over 55,000 admissions to these units of nearly 39,000 individual children aged between 0 and 15 years over a three year period from 2009 to 2011. This included where each child was admitted, their diagnosis and the treatment they received, how long they remained in intensive care and the eventual outcome.