England's services hanging in the balance

Premature baby in a hospital bed wearing a purple wool hat attached to several tubes

Research by Bliss shows dedicated, hardworking neonatal staff in England are being put under pressure with far too few resources.

Research by Bliss to assess the state of neonatal care in England in 2015 reveals that the service that is hanging in the balance and struggling to cope with increasing demand, and too few resources.

Neonatal units are unable to meet national standards for high quality and safe care, putting babies’ safety and survival at risk and impacting on their long-term development.

Despite five years passing since our previous 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.

2,140 more nurses

are needed to care for babies in England.

2 in 3 units

do not have enough specialist nurses

70% of NICUs

are consistently caring for more babies than is considered safe

In response to our report, we wrote an open letter to NHS boss Simon Stevens, which was signed by nearly 3800 people and endorsed by 16 other charities and professional bodies, 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.

Open letter to Simon Stevens

We have handed in our open letter to Simon Stevens, calling for funding levels for neonatal services to be reviewed. The letter was signed by nearly 3800 supporters and attracted support from a wide range of professional bodies and other charities.
Read more
Bliss Chief Executive and Campaigns Manager posing with posters containing findings of 2015 Bliss baby report