News archive - February 2010
11 February 2010
Screening Trial Goes Live
The NHS Newborn and Infant Physical Examination Programme (NIPE) today (Thursday 11th February) announces the Royal Free Hospital in London as going live with a trial to improve the processes and service delivery of the physical examination of newborn babies. It is the third of three sites taking part in this feasibility study, the others being Warrington Hospital and Newcastle Royal Infirmary.
The NIPE Programme was established to facilitate early identification, diagnosis and treatment of children with medical conditions following the newborn and infant physical examination. Identifying children who need help early significantly minimises the impact conditions such as developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) can have on quality of life. Early diagnosis means that children can benefit from less severe treatment options and the likelihood of long-term disability, which impacts on the whole family, is also reduced. The feasibility study is part of wider work to improve the quality, timeliness and consistency of the examinations and so reduce the numbers of children being late diagnosed.
The three maternity hospitals are testing tools and technologies to capture information from the newborn physical examination to:
• link up maternity services and GP practices
• make it possible to track children through the healthcare system
• enable Trusts to monitor and audit their performance
• aid planning of future healthcare services.
Newcastle Royal Infirmary has recently completed its trial and Warrington Hospital is part way through, due to complete in March 2010.
Speaking about the initiative, Professor Adrian Davis OBE, Director of the NIPE Programme, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to work with hospitals which are so committed to helping us improve standards and achieve even better healthcare for babies and infants. There is still a great deal of work to be done but we are hopeful that after this feasibility study we can progress to pilot testing with a greater number of sites and, if successful, to national roll-out.”
Testing at the feasibility stage is split into two parts, firstly working with maternity sites and then trialling the system with GP practices in the geographical areas covered by the maternity sites. A number of local GP practices have already committed to taking part in this second phase.
For further information about the NHS Newborn and Infant Physical Examination Programme (NIPE), contact:
Telephone: 07974 565 485
Notes to Editors:
1. The NIPE Programme offers parents of newborn babies the opportunity to have their child examined shortly after birth (within 72 hours of birth). The examination includes a general physical check as well as an examination of the baby’s eyes, heart, hips and testes in boys. The examination is repeated at six to eight weeks of age (called the infant examination), usually by a GP, as some conditions can develop later.
2. The newborn and infant physical examinations have been carried out by healthcare professionals for many years. Until March 2008, however, there were no defined standards and competencies, and little national guidance, on what was required to deliver a good service. Consequently, there has been considerable variation in the timeliness and quality of these examinations resulting in late diagnoses.
3. The NIPE Programme is responsible for supporting local NHS organisations and healthcare professionals to implement national standards. Currently, it is working to:
a. facilitate improvements in training and education on the physical examinations of newborn babies
b. test processes and tools which will enable healthcare professionals to capture and share information
c. help local health services monitor service delivery and performance.