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Neonatal care review announced.

A review of the health care available to newborn babies and those who may need special help has been announced by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The review will draw on the case of Elizabeth Dixon, from Hampshire, who died 14 years ago after a breathing tube was not dealt with correctly.

The CQC says that it is conducting the review in order to identify what barriers can stop hospitals from providing good or outstanding care to babies which may need extra care because they are premature, or sick.

The review, which started in September 2015 and is expected to be published as a report in in March 2016, may lead to new guidelines.

The inspection will involve around 20 neonatal services in England. It will look at how well staff in fetal medicine, obstetrics, neonatal and community services work together to care for newborn babies with declining health problems; particularly those with hypertension and tracheostomies

Inspectors will look at how well staff spot problems that develop during pregnancy and how these are dealt with.

Elizabeth Dixon died in 2001 as a result of failures in the tracheostomy care she received at home while under the care of a newly-qualified agency nurse.

Deputy chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC, prof Edward Baker, said: "Everyone has the right to care which is safe and effective but we know from our inspections of maternity services there is a marked difference in the quality of the care provided.

“While this review will not give us a national picture of the quality of care, we hope that it will lead to the development of clinical guidelines where required, so there is consistency in care across England.”

The regulator will work closely with an expert advisory group comprising members from professional bodies to look at variability and gaps in the quality and safety of care found in the areas in the focus of the inspection, as well as identifying any barriers that are preventing good or outstanding care.

The members of the advisory group include the Royal College of Nursing, the British Association of Perinatal Medicine and the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.