Newborn care in England under inspection

Neonatal care involves the care of babies born early and those needing treatment at the start of life Image copyright Photodisc
Image caption Neonatal services within and outside hospitals will be examined

A review of the care available to newborns and young babies with severe health problems has been announced by the Care Quality Commission.

It will draw on the case of Elizabeth Dixon, from Hampshire, who died 14 years ago after a breathing tube was not dealt with correctly.

The CQC says it wants to identify what barriers can stop hospitals from providing good or outstanding care.

The report, expected to be published in March 2016, may lead to new guidelines.

The inspection will involve around 20 neonatal services in England. These services, both inside and outside hospitals, involve the care of babies born early and those needing treatment in hospital after birth.

Care failure

Inspectors will look at how well staff spot problems that develop during pregnancy and how these are dealt with.

And in particular the commission will examine the care of babies who need breathing tubes.

This follows the experiences of the Dixon family.

Elizabeth Dixon died in 2001 as a result of failures in the tracheostomy care she received at home, while under the care of a newly qualified agency nurse.

Prof Edward Baker, deputy chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC, said: "Everyone has the right to care which is safe and effective but we know from our inspections of maternity services there is a marked difference in the quality of the care provided.

"We want to highlight good practice so that it can be shared, but also to identify what is stopping hospitals from providing good or outstanding care."

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