Remember the late preterm neonate

02 May 2020
3 min read
 New healthcare policy is prioritising the quality of care neonates are receiving in the UK
Volume 28 · Issue 5


We must not forget about this group of neonates within our maternity services—Tom McEwan, midwifery lecturer and honorary advanced neonatal nurse practitioner, explores why

In the first of a series of articles exploring neonatal topics relevant to the midwife, I'd like to start with the often overlooked late preterm (LP) neonate. As a midwifery lecturer, and occasional neonatal practitioner, I believe this is a group that requires special attention from both midwives and health visitors across the country.

UK maternity and neonatal healthcare policy is changing. For example, the ‘Best start: a five-year forward plan for maternity and neonatal care in Scotland’ (Scottish Government, 2017) presents ambitious and extensive recommendations for the reconfiguration of maternity services in Scotland, envisioning a model of care that is intrinsically led by the needs of women, babies and their families. In particular, the care of LP neonates gains some prominence within this document where it suggests an approach for the care of this group away from specialist neonatal wards to other postnatal environments, which if not carefully managed, may result in greater numbers of potentially vulnerable neonates facing earlier discharge to community.

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