National Health Review into Care for Newborns

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1,000 Babies Die a Year due to 'Shocking' Standards

The Health Care Regulator – the Care Quality Commission is undertaking a review into the care of newborn babies who need extra support after a Fleet woman tragically lost her baby (Neal, 2015).

National Hhealth Review into Care for Newborns

Neal (2015) reports that Anne Dixon's daughter Elizabeth was born at Frimley Park Hospital in 2000 and was brain damaged after her high blood pressure was not treated for 15 days. She was left disabled and needed a tracheostomy tube to breathe, but suffocated and died at home days before her first birthday, when her tube was not maintained during a home visit by an agency nurse who transpired to be newly-qualified.

National Review

The Care Quality Commission is undertaking a national review into care for infants who need more support and how they are cared for both in hospital and by community services. It is the first time the body has used its powers to investigate a particular aspect of care across the NHS. The review began this month and will examine 20 services across England, exploring how well fetal medicine, obstetrics, neonatal and community services work together to care for newborn babies with declining health problems, particularly those with high blood pressure and tracheostomies. It is hoped that the review will lead to the development of clinical guidelines where needed.

The Care Quality Commissioner's deputy chief inspector, Professor Edward Baker, told the Health Service Journal that he thought every child death should be investigated. Clinicians from professional bodies including the Royal College of Nursing and National Institute of Health and Care Excellence will support the Care Quality Commission throughout the review. The findings are due to be published early next year (Neal, 2015).

NHS Scandal

Parfitt (2015) argues that it is a NHS scandal that 1,000 babies die a year due to 'shocking' standards. Just under £1billion was paid to settle 1,316 claims of negligence, including maimed babies – up from £488 million 10 years ago. Death rates in Britain vary from 5.4 to 7.1 per 1,000 births, with experts urging the worst performing areas to investigate wrongdoings.

Janet Scott of the stillbirth charity Sands said "There's no escape for hospitals that are doing less well... They can't argue that it's about their population or the area they serve – they are directly comparable figures. Poor women are most likely to suffer a stillbirth, but ethic minority and teenage mothers are also at higher risk. Some £268million claims last year involved babies who suffered brain damage during labour, an increase of £114million a decade ago" Parfitt (2015) . A spokesman for NHS England said "We expect all mothers and their babies to receive excellent care... At a time when we need to get the best possible value within the NHS, the need to ensure the highest standards of the safety becomes more urgent, not less" (cited by Parfitt, 2015).

References

Neal, C. (2015). National health review into care for newborns after death of baby in 2001. Get Hampshire. 27 August.Parfitt, T. (2015). NHS scandal: 1,000 babies die a year due to 'shocking' standards – costing us £1 BILLION Daily Express. 10 June.


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