Life-saving project reaches the finals of a second national award

Life-saving project reaches the finals of a second national award
20 March 2017

A PIONEERING project which has seen the stillbirth rate in Burton fall well below the national average has been shortlisted for a second prestigious award.

The Midwifery team at Queen’s Hospital has reached the finals of the Patient Safety Awards in recognition of its ‘proactive approach to reducing the stillbirth rate’.

Shocking statistics show that for every 220 babies born in the UK, one is stillborn. National figures have revealed that 55 per cent of women who experienced a stillbirth noticed that their baby’s movements had slowed down or stopped in the run up to labour.

The team at Queen’s Hospital examined links between stillbirths and changes that pregnant women had noticed in their baby’s patterns of behaviour.

In order to safeguard mums-to-be and their babies, the Midwifery team took every opportunity to encourage expectant mothers to report any reduction in their baby’s movement to health professionals immediately.

This potentially life-saving advice was reinforced on stickers that were produced in multiple languages and handed out to pregnant women.

The campaign has been put forward for the ‘Patient Safety in Maternity and Midwifery Services’ award. The team will find out if it has been successful during a ceremony in Manchester on July 4.

This is the second high-profile accolade that the unit has been shortlisted for this year with the same work reaching the finals of the 2017 Royal College of Midwives Awards where it honoured in the ‘Policy into Practice’ category.

Dr Wendy Oakley, who led the project, said: “We are delighted that this ground-breaking project has been shortlisted not for one but for two prestigious awards. It would be wonderful for it to be recognised on a national stage and for other hospitals across the country to adopt the same approach in order to reduce the number of babies being stillborn. There is a very serious reason why we began to look into this issue and why we launched this project. That is the fact that 3,200 families tragically leave hospital without their new-born baby every year – a figure which is both shocking and distressing.

“As a Midwifery team we want as many women as possible to give birth to a healthy baby so we explored ways to reinforce the message that expecting mothers should always report any reduction in movement immediately. We did this by providing a consistent message across the department and giving women the number to call at any time of the day or night if they were concerned about a change in movement. We also produced and handed out stickers in multiple languages, reiterating this information and strongly urged parents not to listen to ‘old wives’ tales’ about babies slowing down on the approach to labour which simply isn’t true.

“These measures have helped to raise awareness among pregnant women that a lack of movement could be a warning sign. I have no doubt that we have already saved lives and I am sure that we will continue to so.”

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