Moves to deepen understanding of the culture within NHS neonatal units took a step forward this week as the Chair of the Inquiry, Lady Justice Thirlwall, announced that she was seeking feedback from staff who work within, or in connection with, neonatal units across the NHS.  The Chair has invited midwives, doctors, consultants, nurses and managers to give their views on the culture within their units, by participating in a survey exercise, delivered by the experienced health research charity Picker. The questions  will help establish a critical understanding of culture in neonatal units. 

Lady Justice Thirlwall said: “I would strongly encourage all of those working in or with NHS neonatal care, who receive the survey, to take the time to complete it . Each response will play an important part in telling the Inquiry what people on the ground really think.” 

The survey is a part of the wider programme of work informing the Inquiry’s investigation into Part C of its Terms of Reference, considering the effectiveness of NHS governance, external scrutiny and professional regulation in keeping babies in hospital safe and well looked after.  

Significant further work is already ongoing to analyse responses of a detailed questionnaire which was sent to every hospital in England with a neonatal unit, completed by both medical and non-clinical directors. The analysis is being undertaken by the Nuffield Trust, an experienced and independent health think tank specialising in health research and policy analysis. This work will provide a detailed understanding of how neonatal units operate across the NHS in England.