NICE launches new quality standard on specialist neonatal care
NICE has today (13 October) launched a new quality standard on specialist neonatal care services. These services are defined as high-dependency, surgical or intensive care.
NICE quality standards are markers of excellent care. They are produced in collaboration with the NHS and social care professionals, along with their partners and service users. They are the only standards in health and social care that apply nationally in England, and derive from the best available evidence, usually NICE guidance or other sources that have been accredited by NHS Evidence.
NICE quality standards are aimed at:
- Patients (including parents in this case) and the public
- Public health practitioners
- Commissioners, and
- Service providers.
The quality standard on specialist neonatal care recommends that these services should include the following:
- The provision of safe and efficient transfers to and from specialist neonatal care.
- Parents of babies receiving care are encouraged and supported to be involved in planning and providing care for their baby, and regular communication with clinical staff occurs throughout the care pathway.
- Mothers of babies receiving specialist neonatal care are supported to start and continue breastfeeding, including being supported to express milk.
- Babies receiving specialist neonatal care have their health outcomes monitored.
This quality standard is part of a larger body of work which has already launched new standards on stroke, dementia and VTE (venous thromboembolism) earlier this year.
Dr Fergus Macbeth, Centre for Clinical Practice Director at NICE said: “We are very pleased to be launching the final quality standard for this specialist area, which distills information from a range of evidence sources, defining what excellent specialist neonatal care should look like. The standard provides clear, concise statements and associated measures for the NHS and the public, which can be used to assess existing practice and improve future services.”
Bryan Gill, Honorary Secretary, British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM) said: “As one of the key partners in their development, BAPM are proud to support the launch of this standard. It will help improve the levels of neonatal care across England, and ensure that babies and their families are receiving the very best, evidence-based services, appropriate for their needs.”
Andy Cole, Chief Executive, Bliss said: “These new standards are welcomed by Bliss and are much needed to ensure that the best possible care is being delivered to premature and sick babies and their families at a critical time in their lives. We hope that these national standards will be used as a unique opportunity to improve the quality of neonatal care in England, and to transform the lives of today's most vulnerable babies.”
David Richmond, Vice President Standards, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said: “Neonatal care is a highly specialised area; therefore it is very important that there are the appropriate standards in place for those delivering these services to babies. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists welcomes these standards, and was delighted to be involved in their development.”
Jan Dudley, Clinical Standards Committee Chair, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said: “This standard provides clear, practical steps that will improve the quality of specialist neonatal care, reduce variations in practice nationwide, and support families at a very difficult time in their lives.”
Jane Munro, Quality and Audit Development Advisor, Royal College of Midwives said: “Babies in need of specialist neonatal services require expert care, and this standard will ensure that best practice is shared amongst those delivering these services. The Royal College of Midwives welcomes its publication, as, I am sure, will the parents and families of these babies, and the healthcare professionals providing these specialist services.”
The quality standard on specialist neonatal care is available from Wednesday 13 October at http://www.nice.org.uk/aboutnice/qualitystandards/qualitystandards.jsp
Notes to Editors
- The quality standard on specialist neonatal care is derived from the following evidence sources:
- Department of Health (DH): Toolkit for high quality neonatal services (2009).
- British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM): Standards for hospitals providing neonatal intensive and high dependency care (draft 2009 guidance).
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG): Standards for Maternity Care: report of a working party (2008).
- Transparency in outcomes - a framework for the NHS consultation can be found at
- The NICE quality standard on specialist neonatal care is available from Wednesday 13 October at http://www.nice.org.uk/aboutnice/qualitystandards/qualitystandards.jsp
- Bliss is the only national charity dedicated to improving both the survival and long-term quality of life for babies born too soon, too small or too sick to cope on their own.
- The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.
- NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:
1. public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector.
2. health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments, procedures and medical technologies within the NHS.
3. clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS.
This page was last updated: 12 October 2010