Poor children more likely to need ICU bed23rd December 2008
Researchers say that children from the most deprived homes are more likely to need an intensive care bed than their wealthier counterparts.
Some 40,000 cases have been studied in what is the largest audit of its kind in the UK.
The audit, published in Archives of Disease in Childhood found that poor children were twice as likely to be admitted but it also discovered that their chances of survival were just as good.
Specialists from the universities of Leeds and Leicester carried out the study using a national database that collects details of all children taken into paediatric intensive care units in the UK.
The data for England and Wales over a four-year timeframe showed that the average child had a one in 1,000 chance of needing critical care and those in the least deprived areas were only half as likely to be admitted as those in the most deprived areas.
Study leader Dr Roger Parslow said the findings were in line with other health impact surveys on children.
He added: "Even though paediatric intensive care units admit more children from poorer backgrounds, those children are not more likely to die than someone from a more affluent group.
"There is clearly no inequality in the treatment children receive based on their social background."
However, higher levels of mortality among the children of wealthier south Asian families remained a mystery.
More research is needed within this particular group, said Dr Parslow, to see if there are other interventions which could help them.
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Title: Poor children more likely to need ICU bed
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 9651
Date Added: 23rd Dec 2008