A review published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health says there are “major concerns” that vital health checks are being missed and could mean premature children are missing out on specialist care.
NHS England believes premature babies, born more than 10 weeks early, should be given assessments when they are two years old.
The review was created through analysing data from over 86,000 newborns in England and Wales, who needed specialist neonatal care during 2014.
Through this data, it was found that 46% of babies did not have these checks or they weren’t recorded at all.
Speaking to BBC News, leader of the study and Dr Sam Oddie said: “Without these checks taking place, not only does this create added anxiety for the parents about whether the child’s developmental milestones are being met, but it also adds pressure to the health service as such children will need to begin a new pathway through the NHS.”
Dr Sam Oddie also accepts that some health checks may simply have not been recorded, but believes there are some checks that would not have been carried out.
However, the review also highlights positive improvements when it comes to premature care over the last few years, including checks being made to detect eye problems within the first few weeks after childbirth.
An NHS England spokesperson added: “We expect providers to adhere to existing best practice and guidance on supporting premature babies and their families.”
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