In February 2007, the Healthcare Commission rated the Trust as “weak” in a review of children’s services. Although an action plan has addressed some of the concerns raised, other problems remain.
For acute paediatric services, national recommendations suggest that where small units are located in close proximity to larger units, consideration should be given to amalgamating services in order to provide the level of specialist care that is now expected.
This allows paediatricians to develop and maintain their skills and provides excellent opportunities for training. It will in turn drive up clinical standards resulting in better care for patients.
There are not enough ‘middle grade’ paediatricians (ie experienced non-consultant doctors) nationally to maintain all existing rotas. In future, more acute work will depend upon consultants who will need to work in larger teams than at present. The Trust expects a number of its consultant paediatricians to retire in the next few years and it will not be possible to recruit enough replacements to maintain emergency cover for acute paediatrics in all three of our units.
Services need to be configured to provide the best training and development opportunities so that the best staff are attracted to the Trust to provide the best quality service to patients.