Too few hospitals belong to children’s surgical networks, says inquiry

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 27 October 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6907
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

Hospitals are taking too long to transfer very sick children to specialist centres for surgery, says an independent inquiry. It calls for national standards for the transfer of children who need surgery and the creation of formal networks to improve care.

The inquiry reviewed the anonymised case notes of 378 children who died before discharge from hospital within 30 days of emergency or elective surgery between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2010. The notes were provided by 373 hospitals that carry out surgery in patients under 18 years of age.

Two thirds of the deaths were of very sick babies under the age of 1 year, 63% of whom were born prematurely. One third of all deaths were of infants …

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