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New research finds babies should wake at night

New research from Swansea University challenges the idea that babies should be sleeping through the night.

715 mums were questioned in the study. Credit: Uli Deck/DPA/Press Association Images

The study led by the Department of Public Health, Policy and Social Sciences asked mothers with a baby aged 6 - 12 months how often their child woke in the night and whether they fed their baby when it did.

The findings firstly showed that more than three quarters of babies at this age still regularly woke at least once in the night with six out of ten having at least one milk feed during the night.

The study also showed that although mums who were breastfeeding tended to feed their baby more at night, there was no difference in the number of times babies woke up dependent on whether they were breast or formula fed, how many feeds they had in the day or how many solid meals they ate.

The findings are very interesting as they firstly challenge the idea that babies should be sleeping through the night once they are past a few weeks old and secondly that what you feed babies will help their sleep. There is a common belief that formula milk or giving more solid foods will help your baby sleep better and this study shows this isn’t true.

– Dr Amy Brown, MSc Child Public Health

New plan in place to improve autism services in Wales

A new one-year plan is being put in place to improve autism services in Wales.

The plan will improve the process of diagnosing autism in children, young people and adults across Wales.

Families who have been on the waiting list for up to seven years say an improvement in diagnosing the condition is much needed.

"I'm very pleased to announce a number of new measures to improve the process of diagnosing children, young people and adults with ASD and the services available to support them. This plan, which is backed by more than £600,000 funding from the Welsh Government, sets out what we want to achieve over the next 12 months and its outcomes will inform decisions about longer-term goals."

– Mark Drakeford AM, Health Minister

The Welsh Government is also investing £2m to develop specific services to better diagnose and support young people with ADHD and ASD.

They're hoping this will reduce waiting times in specialist child and adolescent mental health services so those with highest levels of clinical need are seen in a more timely manner.

"We're also making a £2m investment to develop specific services to better diagnose and support young people with ADHD and ASD. This will cut waiting times in specialist child and adolescent mental health services so those with highest levels of clinical need are seen in a more timely manner."

– Mark Drakeford AM, Health Minister

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Bill to ensure safe nurse staffing levels 'needs amending'

A bill to make sure there are safe nurse staffing levels across Wales needs amending in order to avoid possible 'unintended consequences'. The National Assembly's health committee also says current nurse shortages may be a 'significant barrier' to implementing the bill.

The Bill aims to ensure nurses are deployed in sufficient numbers to provide safe nursing care. Credit: PA

The Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill, introduced by Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams AM in December 2014, aims to ensure that nurses are deployed in sufficient numbers to deliver safe nursing care to patients at all times.

It also seeks to address the conclusions of recent high-profile reports on the performance of the NHS in England and Wales which have drawn attention to the importance of nurse staffing levels for patient outcomes.

The committee says it supports the bill's aim, but has made 19 recommendations it believes should be implemented before the legislation is passed.

Many of the recommendations focus on the committee's concerns that the bill could lead to a number of unintended consequences, not least the risk of diverting nursing staff from one hospital setting to another.

The Bill was introduced in 2013 by Welsh Lib Dem leader Kirsty Williams. Credit: PA

The committee is also concerned that current nurse shortages may be a significant barrier to the successful implementation of the Bill's provisions.

The pivotal role of nurses in the delivery of high quality, effective care for patients is widely acknowledged and the committee welcomed the opportunity to scrutinise the bill...we believe that a number of amendments are required before this legislation is passed, not least to mitigate some of the potentially significant unintended consequences that could be created by the bill as currently drafted.

– David Rees AM, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee

Kirsty Williams has said she is 'looking forward' to giving consideration to the Committees' recommendations on the proposed amendments.

I am very grateful to the Health and Social Care Committee and the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee for their consideration of the general principles of this legislation, and to the wide range of stakeholders who gave up their time and expertise to speak with them about it. I am particularly pleased that the health committee has concluded that legislation on safe nurse staffing levels could be beneficial, and would build on existing tools and powers in this area.

– Kirsty Williams AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat leader
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