On 7 January 2018 the Government published their Long Term Plan for the NHS. Dr Gopi Menon, BAPM President responds:
The British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM) applauds the ambitions laid out in the long-term plan, and the consistent government focus on reducing stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injury in babies. We particularly welcome the inclusion of several of the recommendations of the Neonatal Transformation Review, including an expansion of staff numbers, more accommodation for parents of babies admitted to neonatal care, and work to match neonatal capacity and service designation to regional needs.
The delivery of neonatal care depends on health professionals on the front line, and we look forward to a clear strategy for reducing the serious current shortfall of trained nurses, paediatric doctors and allied health professionals as soon as possible. It is important that the Operational Delivery Network (ODN) structure continues to be supported and properly resourced as this is key to optimising patient pathways and thus to delivering good care for high risk babies and their families, and to improving population outcomes.
Important to spurring improvement will be a more coherent reporting of quality measures, and prioritisation and implementation of work at a national level to reduce variation. This will require collaboration between the many agencies currently involved in quality surveillance and professional organisations, including BAPM, to create national leadership in Quality of Care.
What BAPM is doing to help
1. BAPM has initiated multi-professional discussions on a workforce fit for the future in our specialty. This will include work to explore alternative models of neonatal care, and a training and career pathway for nurse practitioners.
2. BAPM, as the organisation responsible for setting professional standards, is working to improve joint working with ODNs, the units of commissioned neonatal care.
3. Delivering high quality perinatal care is one of BAPM’s main Strategic Aims. We are about to launch a number of resources to help professionals with Quality Improvement and are collaborating with the National Neonatal Audit Programme (NNAP) to provide specific support for improvement in relation to the NNAP measures.
Dr Gopi Menon, President, BAPM