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Toolkit for high quality neonatal services

  • Document type:
  • Author:
    Department of Health
  • Published date:
    4 November 2009
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The Department of Health has published new guidance to help the NHS improve the care provided for premature and sick babies and their families.

Babies who are born prematurely, sick or have a low birth weight require specialised care in their first hours, days and often months.  A Neonatal Taskforce was established to identify ways of further improving services to ensure the best possible care and outcomes. NHS staff from across England and members of Bliss (the baby charity) have helped to develop the toolkit, which provides evidence based guidance for all neonatal services.

The taskforce has recommended that neonatal care should be more family-centred ensuring that the psychological as well as physical needs of babies and families are considered.  The toolkit created by and for the NHS provides guidance on how to improve services in the areas that really matter to parents including:

  • Communication and inclusion in decision making
  • Access to psychological and social support
  • Improved access to and availability of specialised transfer services
  • Safe, effective and supportive transition from hospital to community

The toolkit includes a set of eight principles for high quality neonatal services and a framework to assist commissioners. The principles cover the major areas of activity within the neonatal care pathway and aim to provide standardisation in neonatal care:

  • Organisation of neonatal services
  • Staffing of neonatal services
  • Care of the baby and family experience
  • Transfers
  • Professional competence, education and training
  • Surgical services
  • Clinical governance
  • Data requirements

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