New report reveals childrens intensive care under increased pressure although mortality remains low

Paediatric intensive care units in the UK and Ireland were operating under increased pressure as they coped with rising numbers of patients and a lack of specialist nurses, according to the latest audit of services co-authored by Professor Elizabeth Draper (pictured) from our Department of Health Sciences.

Many units failed to meet the minimum nursing levels recommended by the UK Paediatric Intensive Care Society.

Despite the pressures, only a small number of children died while in intensive care, less than four per cent, and that figure has remained stable over recent years indicating clinical standards were being maintained. Indeed, this figure has reduced since 2003-2004 when the rate was 5.5%.

The picture of a system under strain emerged from the latest annual report from the Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network (PICANet) – a collaboration between the Universities of Leeds and Leicester commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) to promote high-quality clinical care.