Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

Acutely ill children waiting nine hours for beds in intensive care. Some paediatric units now at 115% capacity, warns doctors’ body

Seriously ill children are waiting up to nine hours for an intensive care bed to become available, while others are being transported up to 120 miles from their homes to receive the medical treatment they urgently need, senior paediatricians have revealed.

In the last two weeks, at least 17 children with acute illnesses requiring intensive care have had to be transported out of their regions because of a lack of beds. Some paediatric intensive care units, treating the most seriously ill children, are working at 115% of their capacity, such is the level of demand and lack of resources, according to the Paediatric Intensive Care Society. As of Friday night, there were just four beds available in England and one in Belfast.

The revelations illustrate the stress being faced by the NHS this winter. New figures provided by the Labour party additionally show that, in October, only 67.3% of ambulances for the most seriously ill adults and children, who are not breathing or do not have a pulse, arrived on the scene within eight minutes of being called, against a target of 75%.

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2 Responses

  1. nhswatcher says:

    This is not a new problem, every winter this happens and every year nothing changes. My local Childrens Intensive Care Unit, has physical space for nine children but rarely treats more than 5 at a time due to lack of nurses. Paediatric nurses and especially paediatric intensive care nurses are in short supply. Until the government, NHS, Royal Colleges and Higher Education institutions have an agreed workforce plan, this will get worse year on year.


  2. The real problem here is the lack of Paediatric Nurses in the UK. My local unit has physical space for 9 children, it can rarely take more than 5 or 6 because it does not have enough nurses. The Trust has the funds for nurses but cannot recruit enough as they simply are not out there. This is not unique to my local unit but is a national problem. There is a similar problem with Paediatric Nurses for general medical and surgical care. Recently my local trust had 41 vacancies for paediatric nurses because they cannot recruit. Even resorting to international recruitment has not resolved the problem. This is set to get worse with the removal of the nurse training bursary.


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