The Department does not set the content and standard of training for healthcare professionals. The issuing of clinical guidance is the responsibility of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
To assist the NHS, NICE considered the division of tongue tie in depth in July 2004. Current NICE guidelines recommend when considering division of tongue-tie, healthcare professionals should be sure that the parents or carers understand what is involved and consent to the treatment, and the results of the procedure are monitored. In line with NICE guidelines, NHS England expects healthcare professionals to discuss the benefits and risks with the parents or carers of any child.
Ultimately it is for the NHS locally to ensure appropriate services are available for the diagnosis and treatment of tongue-tie. Some babies with tongue-tie can still feed properly and do not need any treatment. If the condition is causing problems with feeding, health professionals should discuss the options with parents and agree the most appropriate form of treatment. For some babies, extra help and support with breastfeeding is all that is needed. If this does not help, the tongue-tie needs to be divided by a registered practitioner.
Health visitors complete a breastfeeding assessment at the new birth visit and if tongue tie is suspected they will refer for assessment through a locally agreed pathway; this is often a paediatrician referral, or some areas have a midwifery led service.
The table below provides counts of finished admission episodes where there was a primary or secondary diagnosis of ankyloglossia ("tongue-tie") for 2011-12 to 2013-14 broken down by patient age.
Common definitions of the word newborn can include babies up until 28 days of age. For clarity the table breaks down our response into the following categories, under 1 day, 1 - 6 days, 7 - 28 days, 1 - 3 months. The table excludes patients older than three months.
It should be noted that this is not a count of people as the same person may have had more than one admission episode within the same time period.
Less than 1 day
1 - 6 days
7 - 28 days
1 - under 3 months
No central assessment of the effect of the provision of infant feeding specialists on the early detection and treatment of tongue-tie in infant has been made. The provision of infant feeding specialists is decided at a local level.