Magazine article Public Finance

Children's NHS Services under Fire

Magazine article Public Finance

Children's NHS Services under Fire

Article excerpt

The Healthcare Commission is concerned about the standards of children's services in more than a quarter of casualty and almost half of the outpatients departments in England.

In the first of four reports in the build-up to the publication of its first annual health check on October 12, the watchdog assessed 157 hospitals' progress on child-focused initiatives, such as the 2003 national service framework for children and young people. It concentrated on areas where trusts should have made improvements, such as the introduction of child-friendly environments and the training of staff in the care of children.

It was not limited to paediatric departments but covered all areas where children were treated.

In the report, published on August 31, the commission said outpatient services had the greatest room for improvement, with almost half the trusts rated as weak. The poor ratings were mostly caused by a lack of suitably trained staff, such as children's nurses.

Surgeons and anaesthetists lacked expertise in treating children - 28% of trusts were weak when it came to training in emergency surgery and 22% in elective surgery. …

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