Audit and Research

Research and Audit

When it was set up in 2010, one of the first major audits the Network undertook was a comprehensive survey of the nurse staffing levels and how they related to the babies being cared for on each of our 12 Units. This was done over a 6 month period July to December 2010 in order to assess how we compared against recommended national minimum levels. To see the Report that followed, please click here.


Research across the Network

Research is essential to a speciality like neonatology. It has been at the centre of its evolution over the last 50 years and remains the lifeblood by which it is continually developing.
It is probably not appreciated however that some of the most important research that has been undertaken, which has literally defined or changed the way babies are cared for has been initiated and carried out right here within our Network. Research is referred to many times in the Toolkit, for example;

  • “Managed neonatal networks actively encourage research activity in all units” (Principle 1, page 39)
  • “Research is central to good patient care in neonatology” (Principle 7, page 57)
  • “Each unit is able to demonstrate a commitment to engage in research and interact with research networks by having appropriate links and mechanisms for engagement with NIHR and its networks” (Principle 7, page 58)
    It is important that we as a Network both engage and continue to initiate research projects – both medical and nursing based. The hope is that this website can keep staff informed about what is happening and give a better grasp on the importance of this and how it is intended to benefit neonates by changing the way we provide the very best care possible.
As a Network, we will also be heavily involved in appropriate audit work where we can evaluate what we do on a collaborative/collective basis – in other words all 11 Units. Indeed, the Toolkit itself is essentially the means by which we can evaluate what we do against the eight “Principles” and strive to improve the care we provide where possible.


As a Network, we already contribute to the National Neonatal Audit Project (NNAP). This was established with the aim of informing good clinical practice in aspects of neonatal care by auditing national standards.
The aims of it are;

  • to assess whether babies requiring specialist neonatal care receive consistent high quality care across England and Wales in relation to the audit questions;
  • to identify areas for improvement in relation to service delivery and the outcomes of care; and
  • to set up a mechanism for ensuring high quality care in neonatal services in the future.
We do this on a monthly basis for all of our 11 Units because it is done easily via the Badgernet system. The audit questions being asked are reviewed on an annual basis and may change. You can find out more about this very important piece of work and the most recent annual NNAP Report by clicking