During a meeting of the Sejm’s (Lower Chamber of the Parliament) Health Commission held on 24 January 2013, a draft of a multiplex, specialist care system for preterm babies was presented.
Babies born too soon are kept in neonatology units, sometimes for up to 3-4 months. Even then, their health problems are not over. Quite to the contrary, at this time multiple visits to specialists are required. Unfortunately, not all parents can access such services easily. It often requires waiting in long lines or travelling to far away specialist medical centres, which is neither beneficial to the baby nor to the parents. The “Neonatal Supervision Centre” is working on creating centres where the coordination of all highly specialist consultations would be ensured so that they could all take place over one day. Experts estimate that Poland needs approximately 30 such centres situated close to multi-specialist hospitals in each voivodeship. Most importantly, there is no need to build the system from scratch. All that has to be done is to employ the ready-trained personnel in a well-planned framework. In the first three years of life, each baby’s health would be overseen by one of these centres, on average, four times a year. This assumes an estimate of 300-500 babies in each voivodeship. Over the next few months, doctors will closely collaborate with the National Health Fund (NFZ) to create a so-called “basket of guaranteed health services” for those children. The group benefiting from the programme would comprise of babies born before 33 weeks gestation (with body mass below 1600 grams), babies born in due time (or close) but suffering from grave post-delivery hypoxic complication (with Hypoxic ischemis encephalopathy) as well as new-borns with multiple defects in need of coordinated care.
According to a survey carried out by Foundation “Preemie, Parents for Parents”, 97% of parents of premature babies believe that establishing these centres is crucial and that they would like to use them. Currently, they often have to rely on private health care providers because the access to specialist health care is insufficient when it is crucial for the baby.