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No greater death risk for children admitted to emergency out-of-hours intensive care
Date:5/2/2013

Children admitted to UK intensive care units in out-of-hours emergencies are at no greater risk of dying than children arriving during normal working hours, according to new research.

However, mortality rates are significantly higher in the winter, even after taking into account added health risks for children in the colder months.

The study, published by researchers at the University of Leeds and the University of Leicester in the Journal of Pediatrics, is the first large-scale analysis of the influence of admission times on deaths in paediatric intensive care units. It was commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership and carried out by the Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network (PICANet).

Its findings are an important contribution to the debate on out-of-hours provision in the NHS, with Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of NHS England, calling in February for 7-days-a-week consultant-led care.

Research in 2010 reported that patients admitted for emergency treatment at weekends were up to 10 per cent more likely to die1 and the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health warned in April about the large number of children admitted out of hours with serious health problems who did not see a senior paediatrician promptly2.

The new study, based on admissions to 29 paediatric intensive care units between 2006 and 2011, did not find any negative effect for either weekend or night-time emergency admissions.

Dr Roger Parslow, senior lecturer in the University of Leeds' School of Medicine, who co-led the study, said: "This is a very large study of over 86,000 admissions and we are confident that children admitted as an emergency outside normal working hours have the same chance of survival as those admitted in normal working hours."

Dr Parslow added: "Paediatric intensive care units have direct consultant input and dedicated staffing out-of-hours, so proponents of 24
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Contact: Chris Bunting
c.j.bunting@leeds.ac.uk
01-133-433-2049
University of Leeds
Source:Eurekalert

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