A report has revealed that UK intensive care units for new-born babies are understaffed by more than a third and simply allocating the right number of staff would halve the number of infant deaths.
Through its report entitled Special delivery or second class: are we failing special care babies in the UK? premature baby charity, Bliss found a decline in services caring for sick and premature new-born babies since last year.
It also found that staff levels do not meet the number recommended by medical professionals, with intensive care units worst effected as 65% do not have enough staffed cots for the babies admitted. There are 80,000 (one in eight) premature babies born every year, according to the charity.
Its findings follow an earlier report from University of Oxford’s National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, which revealed that if the recommended level of one nurse to one baby in intensive care were reached, it would reduce infant deaths by 48%. Only 3.8% of units currently achieve the recommended staff ratios, the charity said.
Andy Cole, chief executive of Bliss, said: “We are calling on government to make one-to-one nursing care mandatory for intensive care babies, and to commit the necessary resources to get this essential service back on track.”