Thursday, 9 September 2010

Busy A&E doctors fail to spot broken bones in children

Children and babies are at risk because overstretched hospital doctors are failing to spot breaks and fractures, it was claimed today.

The number of cases where there has been a delay in diagnosing children's bone injuries, or where breaks have been missed altogether, has risen by nearly a third in two years, according to new figures. The findings raise serious concerns about how under-fives are dealt with in understaffed casualty departments. Patient groups claim NHS cutbacks are partly to blame, along with a national shortage of paediatricians.

The Patients Association said: “It's really important that when children are admitted to A&E they are seen by the most appropriate and skilled individuals. If there is a shortage of specialist paediatricians, then clinical need must outweigh cost.”

The National Patient Safety Agency health watchdog received 19 reports from NHS trusts last year of missed fractures in young children, compared with 14 from 2008 to 2009.

In London, a total of nine blunders at seven hospitals was recorded in the past two years. But the agency says this is likely to be an underestimate as it is not compulsory for trusts to report such incidents...
Source: The Evening Standard

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