Government 'dragging its feet' over premature baby care

The reorganisation of neonatal services has done little to improve care for babies born prematurely, according to the Public Accounts Committee.

Five years after neonatal services were split up into 23 clinical networks, there are still regional variations in the mortality of premature and critically ill babies in England, the report says.

The report also found there is a serious shortage of neonatal nurses, and neonatal units regularly have to shut due to over-admission.

Shadow Conservative health minister Anne Milton said the government was ‘still dragging its feet when it comes to caring for the most vulnerable'.

Edward Leigh, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and Conservative MP for Gainsborough, said: ‘There are complex combinations of factors at work here, and PCTs need to improve their understanding of high risk groups in their local populations.'

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