NCT response: new guidance for premature babies

Released on: 20 July 2011

The Department of Health has published new guidance to help the NHS improve the care provided for premature and sick babies during their first days.


The Neonatal Taskforce, established last year, has recommended that neonatal care become more family-centred, to ensure the psychological as well as physical needs of babies and families are considered, and has devised a Toolkit that provides practical advice on how to improve the areas that really matter to parents.


“The NCT – National Childbirth Trust – wholly welcomes the new guidance which sets out standards and for ensuring that parents and premature babies in England will get the care and support they need.


“We now need to see sufficient investment in neonatal care to support the Taskforce’s recommendations and enable real improvements in the care of the 70,000 babies admitted to neonatal units each year in the UK.


“Drawing on the NCT’s experience from the recent POPPY reseach project (Parents of Premature babies project), we know the importance of family-centred care in UK neonatal units and have called for an updated approach to current neonatal practices. Parents of premature babies need effective support to help them to be involved in their baby’s care. The POPPY research also identified effective ways for health professionals to communicate and provide information and support to parents of a premature baby.


“Local implementation is now needed to set up these new standards to ensure that parents and premature babies get the real benefits and care they need.”