The issue of neonatal intensive care units and of premature babies has been defined as one of the important issues heading the Ministry’s prioritie.
Among the steps taken by the Ministry:
- Allocation of some 240 beds out of 960 beds in the general beds program for neonatal intensive care.
- Allocation of dedicated physician staff positions for neonatal intensive care units from the physicians’ agreement, and provision of grants for residents who choose this specialization.
- Publication of a Medical Administration Circular specifying the desirable standard of care in departments of neonatal intensive care and special care.
- Appointment of a comptroller to monitor and supervise compliance with the model’s milestones.
- Promotion of the establishment of a breast milk bank, and making contact with tenderers for this in the coming weeks.
- Construction of an incentives model, further to the publication of the Medical Administration Circular on this topic, in cooperation with the Israel Neonatal Society, which is intended to promote investment in neonatal intensive care units and improve the quality of treatment of premature babies.
2015 Incentives Model
This model grades neonatal intensive care units in Israel in accordance with a list of parameters, and remunerates those units with the highest scores (also taking into account improvement over the years).
Among the model’s achievements:
- Decrease of 43% in the rate of infections caused by insertion of catheters.
- Increase of 14 in the number of new residents specializing in neonatology.
- Addition of 50 new nurses and 75 nurses who achieved a post-basic training qualification in neonatal intensive care.
- Addition of 14 staff positions in healthcare professions.
- Rectification of disparities in construction and equipment in various neonatal intensive care units.
The neonatal intensive care units that achieved the highest scores in Ministry of Health audits (in Hebrew alphabetical order) for 2015 are:
The neonatal intensive care units that showed the largest improvement between 2014 and 2015 (in Hebrew alphabetical order) are:
- Holy Family in Nazareth
- Saint Vincent in Nazareth
- Shaare Zedek
Parameters to be promoted in the model in 2016 include
- Hospitalization-community continuum of care – Reporting of meetings between the parents and pediatrician / developmental pediatrician.
- Holding resuscitation courses for staff and parents of premature babies.
- In 2015, a course to qualify as a nurse specialist in neonatology was opened. This is a new role in the health system, endowing the graduate with broader treatment authorization, constituting a new professional horizon in the nursing profession.
- Neonatal intensive care units in structurally reinforced buildings are currently being built in Nahariyya and Laniado Hospitals. The following hospitals are expected to commence construction of neonatal intensive care units in structurally reinforced buildings: Hillel Yaffe, Ziv, Schneider, Soroka and the French Hospital in Nazareth.
- The National “Touch Zero” Program: For approximately one-and-a-half years, a program has been underway with the objective of reducing the incidence of infections acquired in the neonatal intensive care unit. Implementation of the program is being led by the Israel Neonatal Society, in cooperation with neonatal intensive care unit nurses and the Ministry of Health.