Newborn Infant Physical Examination gives
babies the best start in life
NPS is helping to roll-out a national failsafe service to ensure all babies undergo an examination to identify congenital health conditions.
The Newborn Infant Physical Examination (NIPE) programme aims to identify babies with a range of congenital conditions - such as of the heart, eyes, hips or testes - to present the opportunity for follow up and treatment.
Working with the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC), NPS helped develop a new solution, along with failsafe policies and procedures, so that any examination appointments missed or not offered can be followed up quickly.
Initial checks are undertaken within 72 hours of birth as part of the ‘head-to-toe’ – the ‘newborn’ part of the physical examination. Some conditions can develop later, so the examination is repeated at six to eight weeks of age – the ‘infant’ part.
Every year a number of children have some form of congenital condition. For example:
- Hips: 1-2 per 1,000 live born infants require operative treatment.
- Eyes: 2 or 3 in every 10,000 births have conditions such as cataracts and retinoblastoma.
- Testes: 2% of male infants have undescended testes at birth.
Detecting congenital medical conditions early presents the best opportunity for swift diagnosis and treatment. Late diagnosis can, for some children, mean living with a condition that has a major impact on them and their family. The solution from NPS - named NIPE SMaRT - underwent a pilot programme between 2009-2012.
21 maternity were used to assess whether screening programmes could be monitored easily. 36,000 babies were examined, with 10% receiving the newborn physical examination. Following a rigorous evaluation of the pilot programme, NIPE was given a unanimous green light by the Department of Health and UK NSC for full national roll-out.
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