Research by Bliss shows that hospital services for babies born premature or sick in England are hanging the balance, with dedicated, hardworking neonatal staff forced to cope with increasing demand with far too few resources. This means that units are unable to meet national standards for high quality and safe care, putting babies’ safety and survival at risk.
In this section you can:
For the first time in five years, we have heard from neonatal units, transport services and parents across the country, to assess the state of neonatal care in England in 2015. What we have found is a service that is hanging in the balance and struggling to cope with increasing demand, and too few resources.
Our findings show:
- 2,140 more nurses are needed to care for babies in England. Three quarters of this shortage is because there is not enough funding from the Government.
- Two-thirds of units do not have enough specialist nurses
- More than 850 babies were transferred between hospitals last year because there was not enough space or staff at the unit they were currently in. Over 100 of these babies were ventilated
- 70 per cent of intensive care units are consistently caring for more babies than is considered safe
- Nearly a third of units can offer no psychological support to families.
Read our full report here
This is putting babies’ safety and survival at risk, and is impacting on their long-term development. Despite five years passing since our last comprehensive report on the issues facing neonatal services, our new findings shows that little has changed. Nurse staffing levels and occupancy levels (the number of babies being cared for at one time on a unit) remain persistent challenges and we’re deeply concerned to see such little progress.
You can help us address this problem though, by signing our letter to NHS boss Simon Stevens urging him to review of funding levels for neonatal care so that services can meet the government and NHS' own standards for safety and quality.
Find out more about the challenges facing vital neonatal transport services across the UK in our separate transport services report
The issues raised in our report are deeply concerning and we need urgent action from government and NHS England. You can help us right now by signing our open letter to Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, calling for a fundamental review of funding levels for neonatal care.
Show your support for safer, better care and sign our letter now
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Over 3800 supporters have signed our open letter to Simon Stevens so far, and our campaign has attracted support from a wide range of professional bodies and other charities.
You can make a difference too – by signing our letter today.