Dr Chris Course ST6 Neonatal Grid Trainee
The Wales Neonatal Network Annual Audit day took place at the Life Sciences Hub in Cardiff Bay on 9th January 2020. The Wales Neonatal Network was established in Autumn 2010 and brings together NHS health professionals and partners from other organisations, with the aim of ensuring equitable, high quality and clinically effective neonatal care is available to babies and their families in Wales. The Annual Audit day is an opportunity to share experiences and changes in practice from across the network, to learn from other good practice, and to identify areas for future development.
The programme this year was again full of interesting topics covering respiratory care, neurology, National Neonatal Audit Data for Wales and transport to name a few. Particular highlights came from Dr Lucy Perkins, Consultant Neonatologist at Singleton Hospital, Swansea. Dr Perkins was sharing her units experience in optimising the early respiratory management of preterm infants, and the quality improvement project that had been undertaken to reduce the rates of intubation and mechanical ventilation. This talk fitted in well, as it followed a presentation by me on the ongoing audit into the management of Respiratory Distress Syndrome in Wales, which has been a very successful WREN project. Having the opportunity to discuss these two initiatives together showed how practice can be positively changed by sharing ideas and information.
Another exciting innovation came from Dr Kate Burke, Neonatal Grid Trainee, who shared her ongoing work with creating a Hypoxic-Ischaemic Encephalopathy Care Protocol and ‘Passport’ that would help to standardise care and assist information sharing across the level 2 and 3 neonatal units in the network. There were also updates from the units in Newport and Swansea regarding the introduction of General Movements Assessments at 3 months of age for those infants at higher risk of poor neurodevelopmental outcome, and how this new assessment was helping to identify and target early intervention for those babies showing early signs of neurological impairment.
The day rounded off with an update on CHANTS (Wales’ Neonatal Transfer Service) activity from the past year, and how Wales were performing on the NNAP programme (which overall was quite favourably!). I would recommend the audit day to anyone who has an interest in neonatal care, either at level 2 or level 3 units, as an opportunity to hear the latest news in the care that the units in the Wales Neonatal Network are offering. It is also a fantastic opportunity to present your own project data to a receptive audience and help to shape clinical care. The network are actively looking to undertake multi-centre projects and are in discussion with WREN as to how we can take these new initiatives forward, so if you’re keen to get involved, please get in touch!
Dr Annabel Greenwood