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£16m bed sore payouts, children’s ICU death rates at ‘all time low’ and a warning over Syria

Health chiefs have paid out £16m to patients who have suffered excruciating bed sores through hospital neglect, an investigation by the Daily Mirror has found.

The newspaper reveals data from the NHS Litigation Authority that shows 706 patients have been paid damages for bed sores totalling £16,340,099 since 2003. Mr Peter Walsh, chief executive of Action Against Medical Accidents, said: ‘It’s a sign of neglectful care and under-staffing.’

The BBC reports that death rates in children’s intensive care units are at an all-time low despite increasing admissions. A report from the Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network found the death rate was 3.8% in 2012 - despite admissions rising 5% from 18,596 in 2011 to 19,516 in 2012.

Researchers from the University of Leeds and the University of Leicester looked at data on admissions, diagnosis, length of stay and outcomes - as well as staffing levels. However it also warned out-of-hours staffing levels were often not being met, and that children should be given the best care whatever time they are admitted.

Over at the Guardian, a group of 55 doctors and medical professionals will warn this week that Syria’s healthcare system is at ‘breaking point’ due to attacks on hospitals, staff being attacked, imprisoned or fleeing the country, and humanitarian organisations being denied access to patients.

In an open letter to the Lancet journal, to be published on Friday, they say that 469 health workers are currently imprisoned and about 15,000 doctors have fled the country. In Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, there are just 36 physicians, compared to 5,000 before the civil war began, they say.