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Sharing best practice in newborn hearing screening to ensure early assessment of babies

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The NHS Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP) helps identify babies who have permanent hearing loss as early as possible. These babies and their families can then get the support and advice they need right from the start.

Newborn hearing test
Newborn hearing screening helps identify babies who have permanent hearing loss as early as possible

NH2 is the key performance indicator (KPI) that looks at the time between screening outcome and attendance at an audiological assessment for those babies we refer to a hearing specialist. We know that early assessment makes a positive impact on the future for these children.

Performance of KPI NH2 across England is slowly improving but it does not yet meet the target of ≥ 95.0%. We therefore set about seeing what we could learn from the newborn hearing screening providers that were consistently meeting and in some cases exceeding the target. We did this by:

  • identifying the best improvers from KPI data
  • designing a survey for best performers to complete, inviting them to share their ways of working, tips and internal procedures
  • analysing what the sites told us and putting their feedback into themes
  • publishing a report of what we learnt from those sites

Good communication is essential

Please read the report. It shows that the main factors that enable success are:

  • good communication between screeners and audiology
  • information to parents – staff need to communicate in a way that enables parents to understand the importance of attending the appointment
  • appointments booking, flexibility and reminders

We have also developed a checklist (see appendix 5 of the report) to help NHSP providers look at ways to improve their processes based on learning from the best performing sites.

Over the next week or so look out for 2 more blog articles where you can learn directly from 2 NHSP providers about how they managed to achieve the national NH2 target.

PHE Screening blogs

PHE Screening BLOGs provide up to date news from all NHS screening programmes. You can register to receive updates direct to your inbox, so there’s no need to keep checking for new blogs.

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