Severe transport deficiencies for sick babies

Transport services for the sickest babies is severely under-resourced according to new research from charity Bliss.

The premature and sick baby charity has found that half of the specialist neonatal transport services across the UK have reported staffing shortages.

Bliss’ report Transfers of premature and sick babies shows that in a one-week snapshot, half of the neonatal transport services across the UK reported gaps in their rota.

The research also found that there are nearly 1000 transfers of babies every year because of lack of capacity in neonatal units.

One in four neonatal transport services in the UK does not have a dedicated neonatal transfer team at night, leaving vulnerable babies reliant on neighbouring services or busy hospital staff.

There are currently 13 regional neonatal transport services in England, two in Wales, one in Scotland and one in Northern Ireland. Between them they carry out 16,000 transfers of premature and sick babies each year.

Based on the report’s findings, Bliss has called on all governments and the NHS to ensure that all neonatal transport services have the funding they need to provide a 24-hour service with dedicated road vehicles, sufficient for the population they serve.

Full account from Royal College of Midwives 13 April 2016