Warning over baby infections

The heathcare watchdog claims some hospitals are causing unnecessary delays in treating newborn babies suffering infections. New guidance has been published after variations were found in the treatment of babies with early-onset neonatal infection.

Live updates

Parents welcome baby health guidelines

As a parent of two children that were both born prematurely, I know first-hand what a difficult and trying time this can be, especially if a baby also has a bacterial infection. I welcome these guidelines, and I hope they will help healthcare professionals deliver excellent care to pregnant women and their newborn babies.

– Farrah Pradhan, parent member of the guideline development group

Watchdog's recommendations to treat sick babies

  • Treating babies with suspected early-onset neonatal infection within one hour of the decision to treat
  • Using antibiotics benzylpenicillin and gentamicin as the first-choice treatment for suspected early-onset neonatal infection
  • Performing a blood culture before administering first dose of antibiotics
  • Offering child birth antibiotic prophylaxis in a timely manner to women whose babies are at higher risk of infection

Advertisement

'Unnecessary delays' treating sick babies

Early-onset neonatal infection can be very serious and, at present, there is much variation in how it is managed, with sometimes unnecessary delays in recognising and treating sick babies. Many babies are receiving antibiotics needlessly, and consequently there is concern that the effectiveness of antibiotics is being reduced because of the development of resistance to them. I am sure this new guideline will be welcomed as a useful tool for all those healthcare professionals working in this area.

– Professor Mark Baker, Director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at Nice

Risks to new born babies of neonatal infection

  • Early-onset neonatal infection occurs within 72 hours of birth
  • Causes the death of one in four babies who are diagnosed, even when they are given antibiotics
  • Nice's recommendations have now urged medical staff to treat infected babies within an hour of diagnosis
  • The watchdog also says antibiotics should be used appropriately to avoid the development of bacterial resistance to treatment.

Watchdog warning over baby infections

The healthcare watchdog says some hospitals are causing unnecessary delays in treating newborn babies suffering from infections.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has published new guidance after finding variations in the treatment of babies with early-onset neonatal infection.

New born Callen Ward sleeps Credit: Press Association

NICE found delays in recognising and treating sick babies, while many newborns were at risk of becoming resistant to treatment after "needlessly" receiving antibiotics.

Back to top