Quality statement 7: Infant health – physical examination

Quality statement

Babies have a complete 6–8 week physical examination.

Rationale

The purpose of the examination is to identify babies more likely to have conditions that would benefit from further investigation and management. This includes an overall physical examination as well as screening for eye problems, congenital heart defects, developmental dysplasia of the hip and undescended testicles. Most babies will be healthy, but the small number of babies who do have serious problems will benefit from prompt identification. Early treatment can improve the health of the baby and prevent or reduce disability.

Quality measures

Structure

a) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that parents or main carers of babies are offered an appointment for the baby to attend for a 6–8 week physical examination.

Data source: Local data collection.

b) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that a system is in place to monitor the competency of practitioners undertaking a 6–8 week physical examination.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

Proportion of babies who had a 6–8 week physical examination.

Numerator – the number in the denominator who had a 6–8 week physical examination.

Denominator – the number of babies aged 8 weeks.

Data source: Local data collection.

Outcomes

a) Incidence of physical abnormalities in babies.

Data source: Local data collection.

b) Health outcomes associated with early intervention for babies with physical abnormalities.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers ensure that babies are offered a complete 6–8 week physical examination.

Healthcare practitioners ensure that they perform a complete 6–8 week physical examination of babies and that they maintain the necessary competencies for this role.

Commissioners ensure that they commission services that offer a complete 6–8 week physical examination for babies, which is carried out in timely manner and by a competent practitioner.

The mother or main carer of the baby is given the opportunity for their baby to have a complete 6–8 week physical examination, which is carried out in timely manner and by a competent practitioner.

Source guidance

Postnatal care up to 8 weeks after birth (2015) NICE guideline CG37, recommendation 1.4.11 and 1.4.13

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

6–8 week physical examination

NICE's guideline on postnatal care up to 8 weeks after birth, recommendations 1.4.11 and 1.4.13 detail the components of the 6–8 week physical examination.