RCN comment on NCEPOD report into children who died after surgery

Published: 27 October 2011

The Royal College of Nursing today responded to the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death report into children who died after surgery. RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, Dr Peter Carter, said:

“While we are pleased to see the marked improvement in children’s surgery since 1999, it is deeply disturbing that this report found some hospitals were lacking adequate numbers of children’s nurses. There is clear evidence that patient safety decreases where there are insufficient numbers of nurses and it is vital that all Trusts meet the minimum number of children’s nurses in all areas where babies, children and young people receive care. Equally, there is now a clear need for a standardised early warning system for sick children where care can be escalated quickly to senior doctors and nurses when a child’s condition deteriorates.

“Sadly this report echoes our wider concerns about staffing levels in the NHS. We know many Trusts are making staffing cuts to save money and more than half of nurses throughout the NHS are reporting a reduction in staff in the last twelve months. It is absolutely critical that Trusts make sure they have the right numbers and balance of staff to provide high quality care for patients of all ages.”


Notes for Editors

1. The RCN has published a series of documents on recommended staffing levels, standards , best practice and guidance for children  and young people’s services which can be viewed here:



2. For further information, please contact the RCN Media Office on 020 7647 3633, press.office@rcn.org.uk or visit  http://www.rcn.org.uk/newsevents/media

3. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is the voice of nursing across the UK and is the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world. The RCN promotes the interest of nurses and patients on a wide range of issues and helps shape healthcare policy by working closely with the UK Government and other national and international institutions, trade unions, professional bodies and voluntary organisations