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New IT Solution to Drive Quality Improvement

The NHS Newborn and Infant Physical Examination Programme (NIPE) today (07/08/09) announces the appointment of Northgate Public Services to assist in the development and implementation of a national IT system. It will capture the results of the physical examinations, making it possible to monitor and maintain standards.

Every newborn baby is offered a top-to-toe physical examination shortly after birth and again at 6 to 8 weeks of age. These examinations have been carried out routinely by healthcare professionals in England for more than twenty years, but there is considerable variation in the way the examinations are documented. Paper-based systems are mostly used making it difficult for sites to audit their performance, assess referral rates and follow-up treatment outcomes. An IT system that interfaces with both maternity and GP services will facilitate simple and accurate data capture.

Programme Director, Professor Adrian Davis said: “I am delighted that Northgate Public Services is working with us to develop and implement a national IT system - the company has a strong track record in healthcare information management, providing robust solutions to other screening programmes. A national NIPE IT system will enable practitioners to drive quality and improve standards and that is good news for babies and their parents.”

The tender for the contract saw 14 companies compete for the £2.2 million contract. Alan Campbell, Head of Screening Solutions at Northgate Public Services, said: “Our solution will help to join up information held in the NHS. We are committed to contributing towards high quality healthcare by providing professionals with the information they need to continuously improve services.”
Subject to successful evaluation the IT system will be rolled out across England by 2012, as follows:

• Phase 1: The feasibility study, where initial ideas and systems are tested, will begin in two maternity units in 2009.

• Phase 2: Following evaluation of the proof of concept phase, further development of the prototype system/s will be carried out. The final solution will be piloted in a larger number of maternity sites by 2010 as part of the strategy for service transformation.

• Phase 3: National roll out of the systems will be completed by 2012 or earlier.


For further information about the NHS Newborn and Infant Physical Examination Programme press office on:
Telephone: 020 7478 7841

Notes to Editors:

1. The NHS Newborn and Infant Physical Examination Programme (NIPE) offers parents of newborn babies the opportunity to have their child examined shortly after birth. The examination includes a general physical check as well as an examination of the baby’s eyes, heart, hips and testes in boys. The examination is repeated at six to eight weeks, usually by a GP.

2. Northgate Public Services is an innovative provider of transformation and improvement services to the public sector. It is committed to high quality public services that place individuals and their communities at their heart. Its knowledge and understanding of people’s needs are core to its business, as too, is its depth and breadth across public services.

3. Northgate’s task is to enhance public value through the intelligent use of people and technology; to understand why and what change is necessary; to provide new thinking leading to improved performance; and to link company rewards with positive outcomes for the communities for whom it works. It supports transformation through sustainable performance partnerships. In the UK, Northgate works with ninety five per cent of local authorities, every police force, and a large number of health organisations, housing associations, utilities and transport companies.