National Neonatal Audit: Data 'crucial' to drive up standards
Audit finds improvements in care of newborns and their families – but some trusts falling short on submitting key data
Now in its 5th year, the audit, funded by the Health Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP), measures neonatal units against a series of standards in order to assess if babies in neonatal units receive the right level and consistency of care across England and Wales.
The latest audit, based on 2011 data from 96% of neonatal units in England, found that:
- 90% of premature babies have their temperatures taken within an hour of being born; in 2007 the figure was 61%
- The percentage of eligible babies screened for the eye condition retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) has risen annually for the last 5 years to 82% in 2011, with over two thirds being screened on time
- Babies requiring a transfer outside the neonatal unit were kept within their own neonatal networks 82% of the time
It also reveals that:
- NNAP received data on the level of consciousness on only 71% of babies during their first three days of life. Therefore, rates of neonatal encephalopathy could not be calculated.
- NNAP received no health status data for 55% of two year olds who were born at <30+0 weeks gestation and discharged home from a NNU.
- Only 15% of babies on NNUs were reported to NNAP as having had a blood culture performed. A far higher figure had been expected; 15% would seem to be under-reporting.
Dr Mike Watkinson, RCPCH Project lead, said:
“Accurate, complete data is crucial for driving up standards. Whilst it’s encouraging that we’re seeing significant improvements in a number of areas of neonatal care – which means more premature babies are being treated more quickly and effectively - it’s concerning that in some key areas data simply isn’t being sent in to NNAP. A lack of data means it’s harder to identify what the outcomes of care actually are and may suggest that in some areas of neonatal care, performance is better – or worse - than the statistics suggest.
“Our job now is to support those neonatal units that are struggling to submit data and to highlight those that are leading the field. We have nurse facilitators available to visit units and explain how best data can be captured and used effectively. And during 2012 we’re going to be identifying the very best – and the worst – performing units and offering specific support to share best practice and raise standards.”
For a copy of the full report, including regional breakdowns, see:
See coverage in Children and Young People Now: http://www.cypnow.co.uk/cyp/news/1073948/paediatricians-warn-dearth-premature-babies-harms-child-protection-efforts
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