The NHS is being asked to cover the cost of a major spine correction, after it was revealed that an operation could have caused the death of a child.
The Government’s NHS Choices website states that there are “no data points on the effects of spine correction surgery on the outcomes of children aged less than 2”.
But an analysis by NHS Choicewatch found that the operation could actually be causing serious harm.
A report from the Royal College of GPs found that more than a third of the cases of spine fractures in children aged between 2 and 5 years were due to the surgery.
The surgery is being carried out on children aged under 3, but the number of children affected has risen from 2,200 to 3,000 in recent years.
This could be due to poor information and poor communication, the report said.
Dr Mark Furlong, a paediatric spine surgeon at the Royal Marsden Hospital in Oxford, said the new findings show the surgery could have been carried out incorrectly.
He said that when he saw the news of the surgery on Friday morning, he thought about how it could have happened and he thought it could be very serious.
Dr Furlous said: “I thought: ‘this is a bit shocking, we have a new problem here’.” He said it could not be ruled out that other children had been treated for the same condition, but it could also be a combination of a variety of factors.
Dr David Dolan, a consultant paediatric surgeon at King’s College London, said: “[A]dressing children up for the operation has always been a mistake in this country, and this is one of the most common mistakes that children make.”
Dr Dolan added that if the operation was carried out correctly, the operation would have been very safe, but that he was surprised that no one had reported the problems to the parents.
He added: “Parents should always make sure their children have access to the right care.”
The new figures, which were published on Friday, are part of the Government’s National Report on Children’s Health and Care, which will be published in October.
The NHS Choice website states: “There are no data points available on the results of spine corrections, which are performed on children between 2 to 5 years old.”
The results are not reliable, and are based on small samples of children treated.
“A spokesperson for the NHS Choicer told NHS News: “The NHS Choics team have reviewed all the available data, including data from the National Case-Control Study, which has been reported on this issue previously.
“This is a serious concern.
We have been in regular contact with parents of children between the ages of 2 and 15 years old.”
A spokesman for NHS England said: The Government recognises that it is essential for parents to make informed decisions about the care they provide their children.
“We are working closely with parents to ensure that decisions are made in the best interests of the child and the NHS.”
A previous version of this article referred to the operation as the “dynamic neck correction” and said it would cost £8,000.
This was incorrect.
The article has been updated to include a statement from NHS Chopper.