Magazine article Public Finance

Neonatal Services Cannot Cope with Demand, Say MPs

Magazine article Public Finance

Neonatal Services Cannot Cope with Demand, Say MPs

Article excerpt

The recent reorganisation of neonatal services has had little impact on matching supply and demand, leaving every unit turning away the most vulnerable babies on a weekly basis, MPs have found.

A report from the Public Accounts Committee, published on June 17, says that a continued lack of resources - particularly a shortage of nurses - is preventing the Department of Health from meeting ever-increasing demand.

Following a 2003 review, the 180 neonatal hospital units were reorganised into 23 geographical, managed clinical networks. Around 60,000 babies, or one in ten, are admitted to neonatal units each year at a cost of some £420m.

The PAC report, Caring for vulnerable babies: the reorganisation of neonatal services in England says that, overall, communication and co-ordination between units has improved as a result of the networks.

Progress has also been made in reducing the number of long-distance transfers babies have to make to receive the necessary treatment.

However, every neonatal unit is forced to turn away vulnerable babies at least once a week due to a lack of cots. …

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