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Bliss baby report 2015: hanging in the balance

Premature baby in incubator

Over 77,000 babies born in England each year depend on neonatal care to survive and thrive. Worryingly, our new report shows dedicated, hardworking neonatal staff are being forced to cope with consistently high demand, with far too few resources. This means that units are unable to meet national standards for high quality and safe care.

This is putting babies’ safety and survival at risk. It is a neonatal service hanging in the balance.

In this section you can:

What we’ve found
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's own standards for safety and quality.

Get involved
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

Make sure you never miss out on campaign updates or ways to get involved by joining our online campaign network

Campaign progress
Over 200 supporters wrote to their MP ahead of the report launch, asking them to show their commitment to babies born premature or sick having access to safe, high quality care no matter where they are born in England. 

You can make a difference too – find out how you can get involved with our campaign right now.


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