BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Health  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Medical notes
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Wednesday, 28 April, 1999, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
15m for critically ill children
Critically ill children are being treated in specialist centres
The government has announced an extra 15m for children's intensive care services.

The money is part of ongoing funding for treating critically ill young people.

It follows a 5m allocation in 1997-98 and a 10m allocation last year.

The extra investment is designed to fund a national network of specialist centres in paediatric intensive care.

Health Secretary Frank Dobson announced the funding at the launch of the New Health Network in London.

The Network is a lobby organisation which aims to "promote NHS modernisation by stimulating an environment of innovation and change...for the benefit of patients".

Critically ill

Mr Dobson said: "Parents want to be sure that the treatment their child gets is of the highest possible quality and that it is being delivered in the most effective and professional way possible."

The government says investment in staff training has already led to a 21% increase in employed qualified nurses per paediatric intensive care bed, a 19% increase in the number of child-trained nurses, a 16% increase in nurses trained to treat critically ill children and a rise in the number of training places for child nurses.

Services for transferring sick children to specialist centres have also been improved and all health regions now have designated centres with expertise in paediatric intensive care.

Specialist centres

The Department of Health says half of the extra 15m will be spent on supporting specialist centres, a quarter will go on training staff, over 2m will improve transfer or retrieval services and the rest will be spend on equipment such as emergency resuscitation machinery.

The extra funding has come as a result of two reports on the future of paediatric intensive care, published in 1997.

Frank Dobson: "No NHS patient is more vulnerable than a critically ill child"
This outlined how the provision of children's intensive care beds should be moved from small units in local hospitals to specialist centres.

The aim is to develop and maintain expertise in the area by creating a national network of centres.

Children are admitted to intensive care for four main reasons - after suffering an accident, as a result of a medical emergency, following major surgery or during treatment for cancer.


Dr David Hallworth, chairman of the Paediatric Intensive Care Society, said: "We welcome the extra investment, which is part of an ongoing programme of investment over five years."

"The reform of paediatric intensive care services means that the most experience and skilled staff will treat the most critically ill children and that is good for children and good for the experience of the staff."

Dr Howard Markovitch, a spokesman for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said he was glad to see money reserved for retrieval services.

"Intensive care has to start in the hospital where the child turns up and continue unremittingly until they get to the specialist centre," he said.

He added that changes towards expert care, begun under the previous government, had dramatically improved outcomes.

Around 10 years ago, there were no consultant intensive care paediatricians.

Dr Markovitch said it had also led to an increase in demand for paediatric intensive care beds.

This is because of advances in medical care which mean an increase in the number of operations which can be performed.

Parent demand has also put more pressure on intensive care beds as has a rise in the incidence on some diseases, like meningococcal septicaemia.

Dr Markovitch added that there were only around 30 specialist units in the whole of the UK.

But he said paediatric care was increasingly moving towards either intensive care or community or outpatient care.

This would reduce the number of hospital stays for children and increase the number of hospital resources which could be put into intensive care, he stated.

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |