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Review to look at the care of newborn babies that need extra support

20 August 2015
  • Public

A review of the care of newborn babies that need additional support is being carried out to look at how infants with deteriorating health are cared for by hospitals and by community services.

Neonatal services are provided for newborn babies who need extra care, for example, because they are born prematurely or need treatment in hospital after birth.

This thematic review of about 20 services in England will look at how well staff in fetal medicine, obstetrics, neonatal and community services work together to care for newborn babies with declining health problems; particularly those with hypertension (high blood pressure) and tracheostomies

We are going to use this review to look at variation in the care management and how one service hands over to another service so the care is continuous.

The review – which starts in September 2015 – will also report on how well the services work together to identify and follow up on any complications during pregnancy.

Commenting on the review, Professor Edward Baker, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals at the Care Quality Commission, said: “Our review aims to look at how services are managing newborn infants with severe health complications, and how each of the respective services involved in the care work together.

“Everyone has the right to care which is safe and effective, but we know from our inspections of maternity services there is a marked difference in the quality of the care provided. We want to highlight good practice so that it can be shared, but also to identify what is stopping hospitals from providing good or outstanding care.

“While this review will not give us a national picture of the quality of care, we hope that it will lead to the development of clinical guidelines where required, so there is consistency in care across England.”

Advisory group

The regulator will work closely with an expert advisory group made up of members from professional bodies to look at variability and gaps in the quality and safety of care found in the areas in the focus of the inspection, as well as identifying any barriers that are preventing good or outstanding care.

The members of the advisory group include: the Royal College of Nursing, the British Association of Perinatal Medicine and the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.


When the work is complete, we will publish a report describing our key findings. The report will set out:

  • Barriers to good-quality care.
  • If required, recommendations about clinical areas that may benefit from additional clinical guidance or best practice guidelines.
  • Good practice examples that others can learn from.
  • How we will improve the way we inspect services that provide obstetric, neonatal and paediatric care.

We expect to publish our findings next Spring (2016)

This review draws on the experiences of the Dixon family. Elizabeth Dixon died in 2001 as a result of failures in the tracheostomy care she received at home, while under the care of a newly qualified agency nurse.

Last updated:
29 May 2017