Seriously ill children in Southampton have better chance of survival

Children being treated in intensive care at Southampton’s university hospitals have a better chance of surviving the most serious illnesses and injuries.

The latest Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network (PICAnet) report, coordinated by the universities of Leeds and Leicester, shows the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Southampton General Hospital is the sixth largest by admissions and has the best recovery rate in the country.

As part of the audit, each hospital receives a score based on how ill patients were and how many survive, known as the standardised mortality ratio, with hospitals expected to meet the average of 1.0 – but University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’s score is 33% lower at 0.67.

The unit, which has 12 beds and a 24-hour retrieval team, covers Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Surrey, West Sussex,  the Isle of Wight, the Channel Islands and other parts of the UK and last year admitted 971 patients, from birth to 18 years of age.

In addition, since 2006, staff in PICU have performed advanced extracoporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment for critically ill heart patients.

National figures suggest two out of every 100 heart surgery patients might require the system, which acts as an artificial heart and lung by removing blood from the body, passing it through a pump which acts as the patient’s heart, adding oxygen and returning the blood back to the patient.

The latest figures show 62% of those who need ECMO after heart surgery in Southampton survive compared to an international average of less than 50%.

“I am immensely proud of the staff on PICU in Southampton for having the passion, drive and determination to develop this unit into a centre of excellence for patients not just in the south but across the country,” said Dr Michael Marsh, medical director at UHS and a consultant in PICU.

“From staff on the unit, to the retrieval team and the ECMO service, we have staff at the very top of their field and there is no greater feeling than knowing families feel comforted that their children are receiving the best treatment possible with the best chance of surviving and recovering well."

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