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Children's intensive care units performing well

Death rates in children’s intensive care units have fallen to an all-time low, new research shows.

A report by the University of Leeds and the University of Leicester reveals that the death rate in paediatric intensive care units dropped to 3.8% last year, even though admission numbers have grown by 5% between 2011 and 2012.

Commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) and carried out by the Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network (PICANet), the research looks at data from a total of 31 institutions providing paediatric intensive care.

Details of nearly 58,000 admissions to these units involving more than 43,000 children aged between 0 and 15 years were analysed over a three year period from 2010 to 2012. 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.

The vast majority of paediatric intensive care units were found to meet the standards set by the Paediatric Intensive Care Society for both medical and nurse staffing levels during normal ‘office hours’.

However, ‘out of hours’ staffing levels are only met by between half and two-thirds of units nationwide.

“With increasing birth rates, the pressure on the paediatric intensive care service has increased but it is clear that standards of care are not dropping in relation to mortality,” said Dr Roger Parslow, from the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Leeds.

“PICANet are working with clinicians and commissioners to model demand in the future so that services can be planned effectively.”

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