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Sharp rise in babies missing out on timely health checks


The proportion of newborn babies receiving a timely health visitor check-in has fallen sharply, with one in five missing out in the most recent statistics available.

Official data reveals that only 82.6% of babies received a new birth visit within their first fortnight in 2021-22, as is recommended, and in the fourth quarter of the year it dropped as low as 79.3%.

This is the lowest proportion recorded in recent years in the annual dataset on health visitor service delivery metrics, published by the Office for Health Improvements and Disparities.

According to the NHS website, a health visitor new birth visit is supposed to take place between 10 and 14 days after birth and is designed to offer advice on issues including safe sleeping, vaccinations, infant feeding, infant development, and adjusting to life as a parent.

Kate Holmes, head of support and information at charity The Lullaby Trust, said: “Safer sleep saves babies’ lives and all families should be given advice on how to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome for their baby. The new birth visit is a key opportunity for health visitors to talk to families about safer sleep and to provide them with information and support that takes their individual and family circumstances into account.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 7 November 2022

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