Hospital wards which care for some of the sickest children are inadequately staffed, a study has found.
Two-thirds of paediatric intensive care units across Britain and Ireland do not have the recommended number of qualified nurses.
Just 13 of the 34 units surveyed met the recommended standards, according to the Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network.
Researcher Professor Elizabeth Draper, of the University of Leicester, said: “Qualified nurse staffing levels have improved over time, with more than three-quarters of paediatric intensive care units meeting the old standard.
“But following the revision of these standards in line with the recommendations of the Royal College of Nursing, fewer than 40 per cent of units now achieve the required levels of qualified nursing staff.”
The study, conducted by researchers at the universities of Leicester and Leeds, also found that the mortality rate for children suffering from asthma, who required help with their breathing when they were admitted to the units, was relatively high compared with that of other developed countries.