Hospital units that treat children and very sick babies are having to shut their doors temporarily to new patients because they are “dangerously” short of specialist staff, a new report reveals.
Widespread shortages of paediatric doctors and nurses also means that the care children receive is being put at risk, according to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
A chronic lack of staff is forcing doctors to take potentially life or death decisions about which patients to treat quickly, one paediatrician said. “Last night we only had one registrar instead of two. We had an emergency in A&E and [the] labour ward at the same time and she had to make a snap decision which to go to. It’s being forced to dice with death,” said the medic, who asked to remain anonymous.
Another paediatrician said: “It’s becoming normal to do the work of two or three so corners are constantly being cut and kids don’t get the time and attention they deserve.”