Sick baby units need improving4th November 2009
A new set of standards have been published in a bid to improve care of sick babies in England.
They follow criticism two years ago by the National Audit Office over standards of specialist baby care.
The Department of Health now wants one-to-one nursing in intensive care, one-to-two in high dependency units and one-to-four in special care.
While it acknowledges that most special care units will already be achieving these levels, concerns remain that in intensive care only about a quarter currently are.
The government also wants better transport arrangements between hospitals. While all hospitals have dedicated transfer teams only half of these are operational 24 hours a day.
Almost 70,000 babies a year are treated in neonatal units with demand having increased by 9% in three years with more older women having children and multiple births due to fertility treatment
Health Minister Ann Keen said she hoped the standards would make a difference but she also stressed that no extra money would be available for hospitals to take on more staff.
Campaigners and doctors remain worried about the lack of additional funding.
A spokeswoman for Bliss, the premature baby charity, said: "We are concerned that, with the lack of upfront investment, this could be another wasted opportunity to deliver the care that vulnerable babies desperately need."
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health welcomed the publication of a written set of standards for the first time but said resources needed to be made available to ensure standards were met.
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Saturday 7th November 2009 @ 10:24
My premmie was critical ill 1st 72 hours...one to one nurse..then she got out of the danger zone..and she was shared amongst other nurses.....i was not given any help or advice with breastfeeding or counselling nurses were short staffed.......one nurse ran around jumping between 7 incubators..it is an environment where u dont know how many premmies are going to be born....other premmies were shipped out to hospital throughout the UK...we were offered liverpool which i didnt want to ...how niave i was....as it was amuch bigger better equipped than the small hospital i was in.......staff were sick or left...very short staffed and not enough specialist neo natal nurses just ordinary nurses who didnt know anything more than the parents....we had to tell the nurses what the doctors said!!!!!!
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Title: Sick baby units need improving
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 13134
Date Added: 4th Nov 2009