The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) have released their The State of Child Health: The Paediatric Workforce report today. It finds that in the year to September 2015, shortages of nurses and/or doctors led to periods of closure to new admissions at 41% of neonatal units and 31% of paediatric inpatient units across the UK. It also highlights significant vacancies at both consultant and trainee levels, with an average vacancy rate of 14% in both neonatal and paediatric units. These findings further corroborate Bliss' baby reports, which have highlighted staffing issues in neonatal units in England, Wales and Scotland. These new findings are particularly concerning as staffing ratios have a direct impact on outcomes and can ultimately put babies’ lives at risk.
Caroline Lee-Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss, says "These findings give a clear picture of a workforce under pressure and overstretched, echoing Bliss' own research. There is a direct link between staffing ratios and outcomes for vulnerable babies in neonatal units, and high rates of closure to new admissions - affecting almost half of neonatal units - means more babies transferred further from home for their care. This situation cannot be allowed to continue, and we strongly support the College’s demand for urgent action from the Government to address issues of recruitment and training across the paediatric workforce."
Read the RCPCH news story and full report on their website.