The majority of paediatric intensive care units in Great Britain and Ireland are understaffed, according to a new study.
Almost two in three have fewer qualified nurses than recommended to ensure children receive adequate care, the research for the Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network (PICANet) found.
Researcher professor Elizabeth Draper, from the University of Leicester, said: “Qualified nurse staffing levels have improved over time, with more than three quarters of paediatric intensive care units meeting the old standard.
“But following the revision of these standards in line with the recommendations of the Royal College of Nursing, fewer than 40% of units now achieve the required levels of qualified nursing staff.”
The study also examined mortality rates among children with asthma who have difficulty breathing, when they are admitted to a paediatric intensive care unit. It found that the rate is relatively high compared to other Western countries.
The research by scientists from the University of Leeds and the University of Leicester revealed that the number of asthmatic children admitted to hospital rose by 67% in the period from 2005 to 2010.