AN internal probe has found the deaths of seven children at the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals during April were ‘unavoidable’.

The unusually high number of paediatric deaths was reported to board members at East Lanacashire Hospitals NHS Trust, in line with its new escalation policy.

Chief nurse Christine Pearson told the board: “There has sadly been seven paediatric deaths in April 2014 and in line with our escalation process previously agreed...we are flagging this at divisional and executive level for monitoring and information. The initial review has found that the deaths were unavoidable and all appropriate policies have been followed and appropriate referrals to external agencies have been made. This has been a particularly stressful time for the members of staff involved in caring for the children and their families.”