Patients with serious brain injuries and diseases are not getting access to the specialist care they require a report presented at the Intensive Care Society's State of the Art meeting announced yesterday.
The Neurocritical Care Stakeholder Group carried out an audit last year on the number of patients with a neuroscience diagnosis being referred to specialist units.
They discovered that lack of available beds meant many patients were being treated in general intensive care units and being deprived of essential specialist care.
Only 69% of patients were being treated in specialist wards as opposed to a recommended figure of 83%. It was found that a further 44% of patients being treated in general intensive care units should have been transferred to a neuroscience unit according to local consultants.
President of the intensive care society, Dr Anna Batchelor said: 'Failure of referral for this kind of specialist intensive care can mean the difference in a degree of disability or even between life and death. More resources are needed to ensure that access to neurocritical care is determined by clinical need, not capacity.'