Caring for Vulnerable Babies

Caring for Vulnerable Babies

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Neonatal services provide care to babies born prematurely or with an illness or condition which requires specialist care. Over the last 20 years, neonatal services have undergone substantial organisational and technological changes whilst remaining a challenging and innovative area of medicine. Following a 2003 review of neonatal services, the 180 neonatal units based in the English National Health Service and Foundation Trusts were organised into 23 geographical, managed clinical networks. Demand for neonatal care has risen year on year. In 200-07, around 60, 000 babies (roughly one in ten births) were admitted to neonatal units, at a cost to the NHS of some Ap420 million. The networks have developed at different rates and two areas have yet to establish a formal managed network. Networks have helped improve communication and co-ordination between units and have made progress in reducing the number of times babies have to be transferred long distance to obtain the necessary level of care, but there has been less progress on a key review recommendation for networks to re-designate units to ensure that the supply of intensive, intermediate and special care matches demand. The NHS still has limited data on patient outcomes, other than mortality rates which show unexplained variations between networks. Constraints in capacity mean that the Department of Health is still struggling to meet the demand for neonatal services, and problems over recruiting, retaining and training the staff required to deliver the service remains a major challenge. Financial management at the unit level needs to be improved. Neonatal units have a poor understanding of the costs of running their unit and there are differences in how units' determine their charge for a cot day with wide variations in charges between similar types of unit.Every year, however, around 10% of babies are born prematurely or suffer from an illness or condition which requires specialist care. ... acknowledges that this rising trend is likely to continue.4 The trend in low birth weight babies and other risk factors associated with ... by at least 10% the gap in infant mortality between the a#39;routine and manuala#39; group and the population as a whole by 20 10.8 By 2007 , anbsp;...

Title:Caring for Vulnerable Babies
Publisher:The Stationery Office - 2009-04


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