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At the December 2005 Network Board meeting the Designation Implementation Planning Proposal identified the need to develop agreed network standards and a peer review model. The aim of developing agreed network standards and a peer review model is two fold; to identify priorities for investment (staffing, physical space and facilities) to benchmark individual unit’s progress against meeting agreed standards of neonatal care commensurate with the unit designation levels The first version of the Staffordshire, Shropshire & Black Country (SSBC) Newborn Network Standards was developed during 2006 and implemented in paper format during 2007. Each unit completed a self assessment against the SSBC Newborn Network Standards and devised an action plan to address areas where gaps existed.

Standards Assessment Tool

It is intended that the Standards are dynamic and therefore the Standards will be evaluated following their use and revised and added to as appropriate and agreed within the network on an annual basis.

This is the fourth version of the Standards (May 2015). This version, based on utilising the core functionality of the old system, extends the database structure and screen designs (user interface) to achieve two primary aims:
1) enable additional Networks to participate whilst keeping their data discreet
2) bring the overall design up to modern standards so that staff can use the system with minimum training and access it with PC’s, laptops and tablet devices

If you have any suggestions of changes or new additions required to the Standards or Tests please email them to ruth.moore2@nhs.net

In 2013/14 the network board agreed to replace the quarterly snapshot reports of progress with an annual review of progress against the network standards. The annual review of progress is fedback and discussed at the network board each year.

The Standards and tests in the SSBCNMN Standards Assessment Tool were updated in Decemeber 2011 to reflect up to date national guidance including; the Principles in the Toolkit for High-Quality Neonatal Services 2009, BAPM Standards 2010 and the NICE Specialist Neonatal Care Quality Standards 2010

The Network has produced guidance to assist Trusts in completion of the tool.

The Standards

As far as possible, the Standards are drawn from published work including, Department of Health Toolkit for High-Quality Neonatal Services,   NICE Specialist Neonatal Care Quality Standards, British Association of Perinatal Medicine Standards for Hospitals Providing Neonatal Intensive and High Dependency Care and other relevant national guidance on standards of care such as The BLISS Baby Charter and Audit Tool. References to the relevant published standards are indicated next to each standard.

In the absence of published standards some of the recommendations in the Standards are written as a result of the consensus view of the network and constitute a reasonable level of care or clinical practice, rather than evidence based fact.

The aim of the Standards is to express an acceptable level of care which the network believes institutions providing neonatal care should aim to achieve.

The Standards may not be currently met in their entirety by institutions providing neonatal care. The Standards are intended as a benchmark towards which services should be working and which are achievable by all hospitals in due course.


Members of the SSBC Newborn and Maternity Network, including the network parent representatives, have contributed to developing the agreed Standards. All contributions are gratefully acknowledged.