European Standards of Care for Newborn Health

Europe needs new ideas and solutions to address the disparities in the care of preterm and ill babies. The European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project presents such a solution by providing European reference standards for this health care area.

With its transdisciplinary focus and international composition of the working groups, the project sets new benchmarks for the care of preterm and newborn babies and can serve as a role model for countries in Europe and worldwide. About 220 experts from more than 30 countries accepted to dedicate their free time to work on this ambitious project over several years. At the time of the launch of the standards, 108 healthcare societies and associations as well as 50 parent organisations have accepted EFCNI’s invitation to officially support the newly developed standards.

Through its multi-stakeholder approach, the perspective of parents, healthcare professionals, and relevant third parties were equally considered, aiming at identifying current best practice. Industry partners were involved in the project by supporting it financially. Their representatives could join the Chair Committee meetings in an observing role and they were welcome to share their knowledge and expertise without exerting influence. Initiated by patient (parent) representatives for patients, it is a true patient-centred project and, for the first time, patients were involved in absolutely every step in the development of the standards. All project participants work together in an open and respectful partnership to pave the way for change and set newborn health on the international and national agendas.

On a political level, addressing European Standards of Care for Newborn Health will stimulate a new debate that can help questioning existing structures, identify gaps and deficiencies, and advance national healthcare systems.

To read the standards and to learn more about their development, please visit our project website European Standards of Care for Newborn Health

Please download the complete Project Report of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (34 MB)

Launch of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health

Newborn Health Reloaded. Shaping our babies’ future.
Evening reception in the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union on 27 November 2018

Summary of the evening reception in the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union (PDF)Download


Agenda of the evening reception in the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union (PDF)Download


Yes, we can. Opportunities and challenges for the care of newborn babies (PDF)

Keynote speech by Prof. Dr Matthias Keller (PDF)Download


Mission: possible – Take responsibility for newborn health in Europe
Workshop in the European Parliament in Brussels on 28 November 2018

Summary of the workshop in the European Parliament (PDF)Download


Workshop agenda of the launch event in Brussels (PDF)Download


Newborn care in Europe (PDF)

Presentation by Dr Martin Weber, World Health Organization, CopenhagenDownload


Better statistics for better health for mothers and their babies (PDF)

Presentation by Dr Jennifer Zeitlin, French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, ParisDownload


The place of birth makes the difference – a patient’s view (PDF)

Presentation by Livia Nagy Bonnard, Melletted a helyem Egyesület, BudapestDownload


The importance of effective follow-up of preterm babies: reducing burden, enhancing quality of life (PDF)

Presentation by Prof. Dr Dr Dieter Wolke, The University of Warwick, CoventryDownload


How can Europe meet challenges in newborn health standards? (PDF)

Presentation by Prof. Dr Mats Eriksson, Örebro University, ÖrebroDownload


Optimal feeding of our babies – an investment into future population health (PDF)

Presentation by Prof. Dr Berthold Koletzko, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, MunichDownload


Value based newborn healthcare – measuring the results of treatment that patients experience (PDF)

Presentation by Prof. Dr Andreas Flemmer, Dr. v. Haunersches Kinderspital am Perinatalzentrum Grosshadern, MunichDownload


The power of patient organisations – the impact on national health systems during an economic crisis (PDF)

Presentation by Dr Eleni Vavouraki, Ilitominon, AthensDownload


European standards of newborn care: paving the way for a healthier population (PDF)

Presentation by Prof. Dr Charles Christoph Roehr, President of the European Society for Paediatric ResearchDownload


Newborn health standards – improving quality of care across Europe (PDF)

Presentation by Silke Mader, European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants, MunichDownload

Call to Action for Newborn Health in Europe

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has been ratified by 196 countries and proclaims that “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”. Article 6 affirms every child has the right to life, survival, and development. Furthermore, children have a right to be cared for by their parents and should not be separated from them, as far as possible (Articles 7 and 9). However, upholding the Rights of the Child in reality remains a major challenge.

The European Standards of Care for Newborn Health help support these rights from the beginning of life by serving as a reference for the development and implementation of binding standards and guidelines on a national and international level. European and national policy makers, hospital administrators, insurers, professional and patient associations, and industry should work together to bring the standards into practice and to ensure quality, equity, and dignity for the smallest.

Therefore, we call for action to:

Identify women at risk for preterm birth early and avoid transfers that result in increased morbidity and mortality and the separation of mother and baby by providing treatment in specialised perinatal centres where maternal and newborn care are located together.

Commit to evidence-based healthcare by providing modern health technology and an adequate number of staff. Easily comprehensible information for parents on treatment and care procedures needs to be available all times.

Provide sufficient specialist staff, particularly nurses and midwives, to ensure optimal care for babies.

Support parents of newborn babies in their role as primary caregivers from admission to hospital, promote infant- and family-centred developmental care and ensure parents 24-hour access to their baby.

Follow guidelines and recommendations on clinical environment and interior design to reduce stressful events for the vulnerable baby and provide facilities for parents and families that are sensitive to their needs and allow privacy with their baby.

Make adequate resources available to support optimal nutritional care that meets the baby’s individual needs from the first day of life. Mother’s own milk should always be the first choice and breastfeeding needs to be supported.

Promote shared decision-making between healthcare professionals and parents in ethically challenging situations. This includes providing psycho-social support for both, parents and healthcare professionals throughout the process.

Support coordinated, specialised, and effective follow-up and continuing care services for babies and children at risk for later developmental difficulties, as well as for their families. This provides targeted and evidence-based preventive measures to optimise child health and development as an important basis for the health and well-being of the whole family.

Ensure patient safety and adherence to hygiene practices by providing evidence-based information, equipment, and training for staff, parents, and visitors. This includes creating a blame-free error-reporting culture to improve healthcare quality and prevent adverse effects of care and treatment procedures.

Define and provide national and European-wide comparable datasets on pregnancy, birth, maternal, newborn, and child healthcare from conception into adulthood.

Ensure continuous education and training for all healthcare professionals working in maternal and newborn healthcare, including regularly updated curricula and training in sensitive communication and open interaction with parents.

Establish national frameworks for strategies to minimise risks before, during, and after birth.

Define indicators for long-term health and developmental outcomes and create quality measurement tools to allow benchmarking within and between hospitals and countries.

Support research into maternal and newborn health, develop and implement clinical guidelines and protocols to ensure evidence-based care, reduce mortality and morbidity, and improve quality of life.

Download the Call to Action Brochures

The Call to Action is available in about 20 languages and the brochure (PDF) can be downloaded here. If you would like to print the brochure yourself, we can also provide you with a high resolution print file on request via standards@efcni.org

Call to Action for Newborn Health in Europe (PDF, English version) Download


Призив за действия в грижата за новородените в Европа (PDF, Bulgarian version) Download


Call to Action voor de gezondheid van pasgeborenen in Europa (PDF, Dutch version) Download


Üleskutse vastsündinute tervise edendamiseks Euroopas (PDF, Estonian version) Download


L’Appel à Mobilisation pour la Santé du Nouveau-né en Europe (PDF, French version) Download


Call to Action für die Verbesserung der Neugeborenen-Gesundheit in Europa (PDF, German version) Download


Πρόσκληση για Δράση για τη Νεογνική Υγεία στην Ευρώπη (PDF, Greek version) Download


Cselekvési felhívás az újszülöttek egészségéért Európában (PDF, Hungarian version) Download


Call to Action per la Salute dei Neonati in Europa (PDF, Italian version) Download


Raginimas spręsti naujagimių sveikatos problemas Europoje (PDF, Lithuanian version) Download


Повик за акција за Здравјето на Новородените во Европа (PDF, Macedonian version) Download


Oppfordring til handling for bedring av nyfødtes helse i Europa (PDF, Norwegian version) Download


Ação de Sensibilização para a Saúde do Recém-nascido na Europa (PDF, Portuguese version);Download


Apel la Acţiune pentru Sănătatea Nou-născutului în Europa (PDF, Romanian version);Download


Призыв к действию с целью улучшения здоровья новорожденных в Европе (PDF, Russian version);Download


Výzva na zlepšenie zdravia novorodencov v Európe (PDF, Slovakian version) Download


Llamada a la Acción para la Salud de los Recién Nacidos en Europa (PDF, Spanish version) Download


Avrupa‘da Yenidoğan Sağlığı Için Eylem Çağrısı (PDF, Turkish version) Download


Заклик до дії для забезпечення здоров’я новонароджених в Європі  (PDF, Ukrainian version)Download

Landmark in the Land of Ideas

The European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project has been awarded one of the most innovative “Landmarks 2017” of the initiative Germany – Land of Ideas

 

View more (website of the initiative, in German)

Image video

11 months - 11 topics

With our communication motto 11 months – 11 topics, we focus our social media and online communication on one newborn health topic per month. Each of the 11 months (February – December) focuses on one health topic dealt with in the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project. We explain the work of the different groups working on the project, and share Lighthouse examples of projects.

We explain the work of the different Topic Expert Groups, give you an insight into the standard topics they deal with in each group, and share lighthouse examples of projects realised by members of our network or others active in neonatal care.

Video interviews on newborn health topics

In 2017, we launched a series of video interviews with the Chairs of the 11 Topic Expert Groups as part of the 11 months – 11 topics campaign. 

Interview series with the Chair Teams

In 2016, we started our communication motto 11 months – 11 topics: From February to December 2016, we published interviews with the Chair Teams from the 11 Topic Expert Groups of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project to get an insight about the hot topics and major challenges in their field.

Chair Committee Meetings

5th Chair Committee Meeting 2018, Freising

The launch of the standards developed within the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project is continuously getting closer and we have taken another important step towards finalising the standards.

From 25 to 27 February 2018, more than 30 experts from 16 countries gathered at the 5th and final Chair Committee Meeting of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project in Freising, Germany. In intense working session, different Chair Committee Groups discussed and firmed up the remaining 60 of the in total approximately 100 standards. The meeting also offered the opportunity to organise the launch of the standards which is scheduled for November 2018 and to prepare the implementation process. Moreover, every Topic Expert Group, responsible for one of the eleven neonatal and perinatal topics, got the chance to present their work of the past four years.

4th Chair Committee Meeting 2017, Freising

More than 40 experts from 17 countries formed a powerful international group at the 4th Chair Committee Meeting of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project from 21 to 23 May 2017 in Freising, Germany. In different working groups, they intensively discussed and finalised the first part of the submitted standards in 11 key areas of newborn health.

3rd Chair Committee Meeting 2016, Berlin

From 11 to 12 April 2016, the members of the Chair Committee of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project came together for the 3rd Chair Committee Meeting in Berlin. The focus of the meeting was the ongoing project work. To that aim, all Chair Teams presented the work of their Topic Expert Groups and all the participants were given a project review and outlook presentations by the EFCNI project team.

2nd Chair Committee Meeting 2015, Munich

The 2nd Chair Committee meeting of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project took place from 15 to 16 June 2015 in Eching, Germany. We are delighted that all members of EFCNI’s Parent Advisory Board as well as the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the project’s working groups could attend the meeting. During the two days of intense work, the project moved an important step forward.

1st Chair Committee Meeting 2014, Munich

On 10 and 11 September 2014 we started our new project to draft European Standards of Care for Newborn Health. 42 participants from all over Europe took part in a journey to enable every baby the best start in life.

Official start of EFCNI’s European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project

We are very happy and excited about the start of EFCNI’s European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project, EFCNI’s next milestone to tackle inequalities in newborn health in Europe. The official project start was on the occasion of the opening event of the Socks for Life art exhibition in the European Parliament in Brussels on 7 April 2014.

Following the handover of European votes for the Call for Action by former preterm infants to Vice President of the European Parliament Rainer Wieland, the stakeholders present officially declared to collaboratively work on European-wide Standards of Care for Newborn Health. The need for harmonised standards and their development in a collaborative approach have been endorsed by many healthcare societies and parent organisations. All of them have visualised their support with their logo. Visitors of the exhibition could equally show their support through their signature.

The project

This collaborative project under the auspices of EFCNI will bring together health experts, professional societies, civil society organisations, representatives of national parent organisations, third party advisors and industry partners to develop harmonised standards for the care of preterm and newborn infants in Europe. The standards will cover all topics from care at birth, neonatal intensive care as well as follow-up and continuing care to ethical questions, education of neonatal health professionals, data collection and documentation. To this end, interdisciplinary Topic Expert Groups will be dedicated to one topic of newborn health. The standards will run through an extensive consultation process before being publically available online. We are confident that providing a set of expert-developed standards for newborn health will be an important step towards improving the quality of preterm and newborn care in Europe.

A brief review

This project will tie in directly with EFCNI’s previous work against inequalities in maternal and newborn health in Europe.

In 2010, EFCNI published an EU Benchmarking Report ‘Too Little, Too Late’ to help capture for policy makers the impact of prematurity across Europe. This report painted a compelling picture of the differences that exist in levels of care when it comes to maternal and newborn health in Europe. It also began a reflection process amongst parents, medical professionals, academics and industry partners to move from an identification of the various provisions that EU Member States have made for newborn infants, to concrete proposals for improving the standards of care in Europe.

The next milestone was the publication of the EFCNI White Paper on Maternal and Newborn Health in 2011. In this report, healthcare providers from different disciplines and professions as well as parents and professional societies were asked to provide their perspectives on challenges and evidence-based recommendations in the field of pre-conceptional, maternal, newborn care, follow-up and continuing care. As a result of these contributions, a set of key recommendations for each field were developed.

The next logical step is the development of harmonised standards that will incorporate and expand on these key recommendations. This will be achieved by EFCNI’s European Standards of Care for Newborn Health project.

Supporting healthcare societies

We warmly thank the following healthcare societies and organisations for supporting the developed European Standards of Care for Newborn Health and endorsing the Call to Action for Newborn Health in Europe (in alphabetic order):

Supporting parent societies

We warmly thank the following parent organisations for supporting the developed European Standards of Care for Newborn Health and endorsing the Call to Action for Newborn Health in Europe (in alphabetic order):

The whole project is kindly supported by AbbVie, Baxter, Philips Avent, Philips, Shire and Nestlé Nutrition Institute.