About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

UK Baby Care Clinics on the Verge of Collapse

by Medindia Content Team on October 14, 2007 at 12:11 PM
Font : A-A+

UK Baby Care Clinics on the Verge of Collapse

Babies needing special care after birth in the UK could be facing some bleak times ahead as the clinics meant to treat them are woefully understaffed and starved of funds.

So understaffed they are that they refuse new admissions and babies are often driven hundreds of miles to the nearest empty intensive care cot.

Advertisement

Lack of funding has left units struggling more than ever to reach minimum staffing levels, according to the baby charity Bliss.

As a result, demand for care is outstripping supply and the safety of babies could be 'compromised.'

After a survey of 195 neonatal units across the UK, it was found units were forced to refuse new admissions for an average total of two weeks out of a six-month period.
Advertisement

In all, one in ten closed their doors to new admissions for eight weeks or more over six months.

The study also found that most units were operating above the 70 per cent average occupancy level recommended by experts.

One in eight of the most specialist units operated at an average occupancy of 100 per cent or more for a whole year, the report found. More than half of those were also operating at or below 50 per cent of the minimum staffing levels.

Although some new nurses have been recruited, the service is still 2,600 nurses short of the recommended number, the study said.

Ideally, guidelines state there should be one nurse for every baby in intensive care units, a figure agreed by Government ministers.

In high dependency care, there should be at least one nurse to every two babies and, in special care, there should be at least one nurse to every four babies.

Previous research showed that if these targets were achieved, infant deaths could be reduced by 48 per cent.

Andy Cole, chief executive of Bliss, said "Bliss is concerned that the Government still gives less priority to intensive care for babies than for adults and children, even though all the evidence points to a neonatal service that is on the brink of collapse.

"The Department of Health's recent commitment to provide extra midwives is a step in the right direction for maternity services.

"We now need to see the same commitment to ensuring there are adequate numbers of trained neonatal nurses for those babies born sick or premature."

The study found the system was only being kept together by the goodwill of doctors and nurses working above their agreed unit capacity.

It also noted there was no consistent dedicated transport service for transferring babies to specialist units if the one near their home was full.

As many as 35 per cent of twins and triplets needing special care were separated and treated in different hospitals last year as a result, it said.

But the demand for emergency transfers is rising because of the increasing complexity of cases resulting from better survival of premature babies and multiple births, say researchers.

Health Minister Ann Keen said "We agree that it is important that neonatal units are staffed by trained, experienced nurses. "That is why we are increasing the numbers of nurses in neonatal care - the number of paediatric nurses increased by 3,293 - 21.5 per cent - between 1997 and September 2006.

"This growth is set to continue with the number of students doing children's nurse training increasing by 46.5 per cent, or 654 students, in the same period.

"We are currently examining the effectiveness of the existing networks, the availability of cots and the workforce issues that BLISS raise."

Source: Medindia
GPL /B
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)
First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccines May Improve Mental Health
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Pregnancy and Antenatal Care Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Baby Massage - Beginnerīs Guide 

Recommended Reading
Labor - Newborn Care
Useful information about care of the newborn following labor and delivery. ...
Crying Infant - What is Normal?
Parents need to understand that the babies normally cry for as many as 4 hours per day. It takes ......
Baby Massage - Beginnerīs Guide
Baby massage is an emotional, nurturing and gentle stroking of baby’s body. It promotes the infant-p...
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome
Neonatal abstinence syndrome is a condition where newborn babies experience withdrawal symptoms due ...
Pregnancy and Antenatal Care
What is Antenatal care and its importance during pregnancy for mother and baby, with details on the ...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use