Child hospital care warning13th March 2009
The Healthcare Commission has warned that the NHS needs to improve the care it offers children.
The watchdog said health service staff needed to receive better training on how to spot signs of child abuse after discovering that less than a third of the 154 hospital trusts in England failed to meet child protection training standards.
It also warned 63% of NHS hospital trusts did not do enough to ensure surgeons maintained the skills needed to operate on children.
The latest analysis follows up a survey conducted two years ago which found a fifth of trusts were unable to provide round-the-clock emergency care for children.
While the Commission said there had been improvements, there was still some way to go.
It wants staff to receive child protection training annually, rather than three-yearly and surgeons and anaesthetists to perform more surgery to maintain their skills.
Three-quarters of trusts failed to meet requirements that anaesthetists should perform 20 procedures per year, while surgeons should perform 100.
Commission chief executive Anna Walker said: "There have been improvements but more work is clearly needed. We are particularly concerned about training in child protection.
"It is absolutely vital that NHS staff working with children know how to recognise signs of child abuse and know what to do if they see it.
"Another area of concern is that some surgeons and anaesthetists appear to be performing procedures on children without meeting the recommended levels of work to maintain their skills."
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health expressed concern at the findings.
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Title: Child hospital care warning
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 10588
Date Added: 13th Mar 2009