Quality standard

This quality standard covers preventing bacterial infection in newborn babies, treating pregnant women and pregnant people whose babies are at risk of infection, and treating newborn babies with suspected or confirmed bacterial infection. It includes when to give antibiotics to prevent and treat neonatal bacterial infection and describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement. This includes early-onset (within 72 hours of birth) and late-onset (between 72 hours and 28 days following birth) neonatal infection.

In January 2024, this quality standard was updated and replaced the previous quality standard published in December 2014. The topic was identified for update following a review of quality standards. The review identified new and updated guidance on neonatal infection (see NICE’s guideline on neonatal infection). For more information, see update information.

How to use NICE quality standards and how we develop them

Quality standards help you improve the quality of care you provide or commission. They apply in England and Wales (see the UK government website and Welsh government website). Decisions on how they apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland are made by ministers in the Scottish government and Northern Ireland Executive.

Find out how to use quality standards and how we develop them. We check our quality standards every August to make sure they are up to date.