NHS England and NHS Improvement recommendations for Neonatal Care

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20 December 2019

We are delighted that the new NHS England and NHS Improvement recommendations of the Neonatal Critical Care Transformation Review require Local Maternity Systems (LMSs) and Neonatal Operational Delivery Networks (ODNs) to work together to develop action plans to support neonatal services to seek and acquire Unicef UK Baby Friendly accreditation (pg. 18)

The NHS Long Term Plan has committed to new investment over the next five years to meet the action plan. Its three key commitments are focused on:

  1. Developing neonatal capacity: Redesigning and expanding neonatal critical care services to further enhance the safety, effectiveness and the experience of families, as well as to improve neonatal capacity and triage within expert maternity and neonatal centres.
  2. Further developing the expert neonatal workforce required: Extra neonatal nurses and expanded roles for some allied health professionals to support clinical care.
  3. Enhancing the experience of families: Through care coordinators and investment in improved parental accommodation.

LMSs and ODNs have been asked to produce action plans by the end of March 2020 with the aim of implementation within five years, in line with the NHS Long Term Plan. Resources will be made available to help the LMSs and ODNs invest good parental support through the Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative (pg. 19).

This reflects the Unicef UK Baby Friendly neonatal standards, which are designed to support neonatal services to put babies and their families at the heart of care, supporting parents to develop a close and loving relationship with their baby and valuing partners in care.

The Unicef UK Baby Friendly Initiative has the knowledge, credibility and infrastructure to work with an organisation the size of the NHS to put standards in place to make a difference to children’s lives across the UK. These plans present a fantastic opportunity for us to support more health services to transform their care – helping mothers to breastfeed for as long as they wish and enabling all families to develop close and loving relationships with their babies.

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