Intensive care for babies “overstretched and understaffed”
A report has found that intensive care units for sick and premature babies are caring for more babies than is safe, with units being overstretched and understaffed. The study by baby charity Bliss found that around 86% of neonatal intensive care units were considered unsafe as they were caring for too many babies. Experts believe that 2,140 more nurses are needed to look after sick and premature babies in intensive care.
Other figures from the report show that 64% of neonatal units did not have enough staff to meet the national standard, resulting in 855 babies having to be transferred between hospitals due to a lack of staff. The Department of Health recommends that intensive care units should have a ratio of one nurse to one baby, but the study found that in special care units the ratio was one nurse to four babies, and in high dependency units there was one nurse to two babies.
Chief executive of Bliss Caroline Davey said services were not up to standard when it came to quality and safety, adding that the matter should be addressed urgently “so that every baby has the best possible chance of survival and of having a full and healthy life.”