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Found 536 results
  1. Content Article
    Despite its reported benefits, breastfeeding rates are low globally, and support systems such as the Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) have been established to support healthy infant feeding practices and infant bonding. Increasingly reviews are being undertaken to assess the overall impact of BFI accreditation. A systematic synthesis of current reviews has therefore been carried out to examine the state of literature on the effects of BFI accreditation. 
  2. News Article
    Deaths of newborn babies should be more thoroughly investigated by health boards in Scotland, experts have said after reviewing an increase in infant mortality. The team found inquiries into baby deaths conducted by health boards were “poor quality, inconsistent and incomplete”. The experts added that information about staffing levels on maternity wards at the time of the deaths was so poor that they could not draw any conclusions. They were also unable to determine if health boards enlisted independent, external advisers when considering if deaths could have been prevented. Helen Mactier, a retired neonatologist and chairwoman of the Neonatal Mortality Review, said: “This review has helped to get a clearer understanding of the increase in neonatal deaths that occurred in 2021-22. “We understand that there are still unanswered questions, and our recommendations are focused on ensuring that future opportunities to learn are not missed and acted on in a timely and comprehensive manner.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 27 February 2024
  3. News Article
    Mothers of babies who died or suffered brain damage from a Group B Strep (GBS) infection say routine screening is needed. Oliver Plumb, from the charity Group B Strep Support, said it was a "small number of babies" exposed to the bacteria that developed a serious and potentially fatal infection. He said around 800 babies a year developed the infection - which is about two babies a day - and about one a week will die, while another a week will be left with a lifelong disability. "It's a heart-breaking start to life for families and that often the first they hear of Group B Strep is when their baby is sick or in intensive care". The charity has called for GBS to be a notifiable disease to make it a legal responsibility for infections to be reported. It added that current figures could be "missing around one fifth of the infections". There was a "postcode lottery" in terms of how many families will hear about GBS, he said. The charity also backed calls for screening. "In the UK we don't sadly have a routine testing programme, that's at odds with much of the rest of the high-income world. " A DHSC spokesperson said a public consultation on the notifiable diseases list was carried out last year. "DHSC and UKHSA are considering the responses and confirmation of any changes will be published in due course," they said. Several reasons for not recommending routine screening have been given by the committee, including that results can change in the last few weeks of labour, and that GBS does not cause infection in every baby. Read full story Source: BBC News, 26 February 2024 Further reading on the hub: Leading for safety: A conversation with Jane Plumb, Founder of Group B Strep Support
  4. News Article
    Bereaved parents who lose a baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy in England can now receive a certificate in recognition of their loss. Ministers say they have listened to bereaved parents who have gone through the painful experience of miscarriage. Campaigners said they were "thrilled" that millions of families would finally get the formal acknowledgement that their baby existed. All parents who have experienced baby loss since September 2018 can apply. They should visit the gov.uk website - applicants must be at least 16 years old, have been living in England at the time of the loss and be one of the baby's parents or surrogate. In Wales, there are plans to deliver a similar scheme. Babies who are born dead after 24 completed weeks of pregnancy are called stillbirths, and their deaths are officially registered. But this does not happen for babies who die before that stage. Pregnancy loss or miscarriage before 24 weeks is the most common complication of pregnancy, experienced by an estimated one in five women in the UK. Read full story Source: BBC News, 21 February 2024
  5. News Article
    In 2009, Emma Murphy took a phone call from her sister that changed her life. “At first, I couldn’t make out what she was saying; she was crying so much,” Murphy says. “All I could hear was ‘Epilim’.” This was a brand name for sodium valproate, the medication Murphy had been taking since she was 12 to manage her epilepsy. Her sister explained that a woman, Janet Williams, on the local news had claimed that taking the drug during her pregnancies had harmed her children. She was appealing for other women who might have experienced this to come forward. Murphy found the news segment that evening and watched it. “I was just stunned,” she says. “Watching that, I knew. I knew there and then that my children had been affected.” At that point, Murphy was a mother to five children, all under six, and married to Joe, a taxi driver in Manchester. “My kids are fabulous, all of them, but I’d known for years that something was wrong,” she says. “They weren’t meeting milestones. There was delayed speech, slowness to crawl, not walking. There was a lot of drooling – that was really apparent. They were poorly, with constant infections. I was always at the doctors with one of them." A call between Murphy and Janet Williams was the start of an incredible partnership. It led to the report published this month by England’s patient safety commissioner, Dr Henrietta Hughes, which recommended a compensation scheme for families of children harmed by valproate taken in pregnancy. Hughes has suggested initial payments of £100,000 and described the damage caused by the drug as “a bigger scandal than thalidomide”. It is estimated that 20,000 British children have been exposed to the drug while in the womb. Williams and Murphy have campaigned relentlessly to reach this point. It is by no means the endpoint – even now, an estimated three babies are born each month having been exposed to the drug. Together, the women formed In-Fact (the Independent Fetal Anti Convulsant Trust) to find and support families like theirs. They were instrumental in the creation of an all-party parliamentary group to raise awareness in government. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 22 February 2024
  6. Content Article
    In this long-read article, Abbie Mason-Woods talks about her experience of having a high-risk pregnancy, pre-term birth and two baby girls in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Abbie shares her deep insights as a patient and parent, highlighting the importance of trauma-informed, person-centred care throughout the care pathway, and the risk in forgetting the mother. 
  7. News Article
    A trust’s main maternity unit has been rated “inadequate” and given a warning notice amid concerns delayed Caesarean sections are causing harm to babies. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) told Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust to make significant improvements in how quickly it carries out emergency C-sections, the regulator said in a report today. The trust was also told to improve risk management, governance and oversight of services at its Tunbridge Wells Hospital. Inspectors found between April and July last year, 42% of “category 1” emergency Caesareans – defined as those posing an immediate threat to the life of the woman or foetus — at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital were delayed. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says these should be carried out “as soon as possible and in most situations within 30 minutes of making the decision”. The report identified “ongoing recurrent delays” to emergency Caesareans overnight, as the trusts did not have a second theatre available. This “meant an increased risk of harm, including cases reported by the service such as babies with ‘acute foetal hypoxia’ had emerged due to delayed births”, the inspection report said. It also criticised the trust for not responding to a high level of post-partum haemorrhages, some of which had caused “moderate” harm. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 16 February 2024
  8. News Article
    More than 100 patients who had eggs and embryos frozen at a leading clinic have been told they may have been damaged due to a fault in the freezing process. The clinic, at Guy's Hospital in London, said it may have unwittingly used some bottles of a faulty freezing solution in September and October 2022. But it said it did not know the liquid was defective at the time. One patient at a second clinic, Jessop Fertility in Sheffield, has also been affected, the BBC has learned. The fertility industry regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), said it believes the faulty batch was only distributed to those two clinics. It is believed that many of the patients affected have subsequently had cancer treatment since having their eggs or embryos frozen, which may have left them infertile. This means they now may not be able to conceive with their own eggs. Guy's Hospital's Assisted Conception Unit is now being investigated by the HFEA, because of a delay in informing people affected. Read full story Source: BBC News, 14 February 2024
  9. Content Article
    With the Maternity and Newborn Safety Investigations transition to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) completed, Sandy Lewis, Director of the Maternity Investigation Programme, reflects on past accomplishments, ambitions for 2024 and how the CQC transition is bedding in.
  10. Content Article
    This population-based cohort study from Sweden and Norway aimed to explore whether exposure to mRNA Covid-19 vaccination during pregnancy increases the risk of adverse events in newborn infants. The cohort included 94,303 infants exposed to Covid-19 vaccination during pregnancy and 102,167 control infants born between June 2021 and January 2023. The authors found that vaccination during pregnancy was associated with lower odds of neonatal intracranial haemorrhage, cerebral ischemia and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and neonatal mortality.
  11. News Article
    Lawyers and charities tell of mothers told to ‘labour at home as long as they can’, dangerously few midwives and ‘lies’ during natal care. As Rozelle Bosch approached her due date she had every reason to expect a healthy baby. Neither she, her husband nor the midwives knew that the child was in the breech position at 30 weeks. When her waters broke a fortnight early, Bosch and her husband, Eckhardt, both first-time parents, had been reassured by NHS Lanarkshire that all was well and that the mother was “low risk”. They were sent home from Wishaw hospital and told to monitor conditions until the pregnancy became “active”. Shortly before 11pm on 1 July 2021, her husband called an ambulance saying that Bosch was in labour and was giving birth. Bosch was in an upstairs bedroom on her knees and paramedics noted that “the baby was pink”. They soon asked the control room for a doctor or midwife to attend but none were available. By the time the ambulance took the family to hospital, the baby had turned blue. Within two days, baby Mirabelle had died. She had become trapped with only her feet and calves delivered while the couple were still at home. A post-mortem has found that Mirabelle suffered oxygen deprivation to the brain from “head entrapment” during delivery. Last month, her father explained to a fatal accident inquiry (FAI) at Glasgow sheriff court: “We were told Rozelle was healthy and Mirabelle was healthy. I think this was a lie and the consequences have me standing here today.” The way that the tragedy unfolded is striking, not just because of the devastating consequences, but because it is not an entirely isolated case. The same FAI is examining the deaths of two other newborns, Ellie McCormick and Leo Lamont, who also died in NHS Lanarkshire less than a month apart in 2019. Experts say it is rare for the Crown and Procurator Fiscal Service to group investigations in this way. Darren Deery, the McCormicks’ lawyer and a medical negligence specialist with Drummond Miller, said he had noticed a “considerable increase” in parents contacting the law firm in the past three years. Read full story (paywalled) Source: The Times, 11 February 2024
  12. News Article
    Campaigners have accused the UK government of betraying them after a review of redress for victims of health scandals excluded families who may have been affected by the hormone pregnancy test Primodos. A report published on Wednesday by the patient safety commissioner, Dr Henrietta Hughes, found a “clear case for redress” for thousands of women and children who suffered “avoidable harm” from the epilepsy treatment sodium valproate and from vaginal mesh implants. But despite the commissioner wanting to include families affected by hormone pregnancy tests in her review, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) told her they would not be included. Primodos was an oral hormonal drug used between the 1950s and 70s for regulating menstrual cycles, and as a pregnancy test. Hormone pregnancy tests stopped being sold in the late 1970s and manufacturers have faced claims that such tests led to birth defects and miscarriages. Last year, the high court dismissed a case brought by more than 100 families to seek legal compensation owing to insufficient new evidence. The Hughes report states: “Our terms of reference did not include the issue of hormone pregnancy tests. This was a decision taken by DHSC and should not be interpreted as representing the views of the commissioner on the avoidable harm suffered in relation to hormone pregnancy tests or the action required to address this. “The patient safety commissioner wanted them included in the scope but, nevertheless, agreed to take on the work as defined by DHSC ministers.” Marie Lyon, the chair of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests, said the families of those who took the tests felt “left out in the cold” and betrayed that they were not included in the commissioner’s review. “I feel betrayed by the patient safety commissioner, by the IMMDS [Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety] review and by the secretary of state for health – all three have betrayed our families because, basically, they have just forgotten us. It’s a case of ‘it’s too difficult so we will just focus on valproate and mesh’,” Lyon said. Prof Carl Heneghan, a professor of evidence-based medicine at the University of Oxford, who led a systematic review of Primodos in 2018, said: “It’s unclear to me how the commissioner can keep patients safe if they are blocked and don’t have the power to go to areas where patient safety matters.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 7 February 2024
  13. News Article
    The NHS Race and Health Observatory, in partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and supported by the Health Foundation, has established an innovative 15-month, peer-to-peer Learning and Action Network to address the gaps seen in severe maternal morbidity, perinatal mortality and neonatal morbidity between women of different ethnic groups. Across England, nine NHS Trusts and Integrated Care Systems will participate in this action oriented, fast-paced Learning and Action Network to improve outcomes in maternal and neonatal health. Through the Network, the nine sites will aim to address the gaps seen in severe maternal morbidity, perinatal mortality and neonatal morbidity between women of different ethnic groups. Haemorrhage, preterm birth, post-partum depression and gestational diabetes have been identified as some of the priority areas for the programme. The sites will generate tailored action plans with the aim of identifying interventions and approaches that reduce health inequalities and enhance anti-racism practices and learning from the programme. These will be evaluated and shared across and between healthcare systems. The Network, the first of its kind for the NHS, will combine Quality Improvement methods with explicit anti-racism principles to drive clinical transformation, and aims to enable system-wide change. Over a series of action, learning and coaching sessions, participants will review policies, processes and workforce metrics; share insights and case studies; and engage with mothers, parents, pregnant women and people. The programme will run until June 2025, supported by an advisory group from the NHS Race and Health Observatory, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and experts in midwifery, maternal and neonatal medicine. Read full story Source: NHS Race and Health Observatory, 24 January 2024
  14. Content Article
    Drawing upon the findings of a PhD that captured the experiences of midwives who proactively supported alternative physiological births while working in the National Health Service, their practice was conceptualised as ‘skilled heartfelt practice’. Skilled heartfelt practice denotes the interrelationship between midwives’ attitudes and beliefs in support of women’s choices, their values of cultivating meaningful relationships, and their expert practical clinical skills. It is these qualities combined that give rise to what is called ‘full-scope midwifery’ as defined by the Lancet Midwifery Series. This book illuminates why and how these midwives facilitated safe, relational care. Using a combination of emotional intelligence skills and clinical expertise while centring women’s bodily autonomy, they ensured safe care was provided within a holistic framework. 
  15. News Article
    Serious concerns about maternity services at an NHS trust have been revealed by BBC Panorama. Midwives say a poor culture and staff shortages at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust have led to baby deaths that could have been avoided. A newborn baby died after the trust failed to take action against two staff, the BBC has been told. The trust says it is sorry for its failings and is determined to learn when things go wrong. Concerns about two staff members, both midwives, had been raised by colleagues at the Cheltenham Birth Centre after another baby died 11 months earlier. The birth centre allowed women with low-risk pregnancies the choice of giving birth there under the care of midwives - there were no emergency facilities in the centre. In the event of complications, women should have been transferred to the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, which is part of the same trust and about a 30-minute drive away. But on both occasions, the two midwives did not get their patients transferred quickly enough. The two midwives on duty for both deaths are now being investigated by their regulator, the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 January 2024
  16. News Article
    Doctors "failed to realise" that a first-time mother's pregnancy had become "much higher risk" because crucial warning signs were not properly highlighted in her medical records, an inquiry has heard. Nicola McCormick was obese and had experienced repeated episodes of bleeding and reduced foetal movement, but was wrongly downgraded from a high to low risk patient weeks before she went into labour. Her daughter, Ellie McCormick, had to be resuscitated after being born "floppy" with "no signs of life" at Wishaw General hospital on March 4 2019 following an emergency caesarean. She had suffered severe brain damage and multi-organ failure due to oxygen deprivation, and was just five hours old when her life support was switched off. A fatal accident inquiry (FAI) at Glasgow Sheriff Court was told that Ms McCormick, who was 20 and lived with her parents in Uddingston, should have been booked for an induction of labour "no later" than her due date of 26 February. Had this occurred, she would have been in hospital for the duration of the birth with Ellie's foetal heartbeat "continuously" monitored. In the event, Ms McCormick had been in labour for more than nine hours by the time she was admitted to hospital at 8.29pm on 4 March. A midwife raised the alarm after detecting a dangerously low foetal heartbeat, and Ms McCormick was rushed into theatre for an emergency C-section. Dr Rhona Hughes, a retired consultant obstetrician who gave evidence as an expert witness, told the FAI that Ellie might have survived had there been different guidelines in place in relation to the dangers of bleeding late in pregnancy, or had her medical history been more obvious in computer records. Read full story Source: The Herald, 24 January 2024
  17. Content Article
    This safety article aims to outline the actions taken by the patient safety team at NHS Improvement in response to a reported incident and to highlight potential for harm to babies from knitted items. Related reading on the hub: Finger injuries from infant mittens; a continuing but preventable hazard (April 1996) Notes from a Patient Safety Education Network discussion on a similar incident. (This is a group for UK hub members involved in patient safety education/training in their organisations and members of the hub can join by emailing support@PSLhub.org.)
  18. Content Article
    During the last 4 years, three infants have presented with finger-tip injuries secondary to entrapment in woollen/synthetic mittens. The accident happened at home in one case but the other two occurred in different neonatal units. Spontaneous amputation of the terminal phalanx of the index finger occurred in two patients but in the other there was complete healing. This problem may be avoided by restricting the use of mittens, by changing their design, and by a greater awareness of this hazard. Related reading on the hub: Knitted items – potential for harm to babies? (2018) Notes from a Patient Safety Education Network discussion on a similar incident. (This is a group for UK hub members involved in patient safety education/training in their organisations and members of the hub can join by emailing support@PSLhub.org.)
  19. News Article
    In 2016, Kettering General Hospital (KGH) became the focus of a major criminal inquiry. Documents seen by the BBC reveal detectives looked for evidence of gross negligence manslaughter over the treatment of Jorgie Stanton-Watts, a vulnerable toddler. Seven years of investigations followed, by the hospital, regulators and a coroner. The family has struggled to hold people to account. Since Jorgie's death, a BBC investigation has heard from more than 50 parents with serious concerns about the treatment of their children, many of whom died or suffered injury. The Northamptonshire hospital has also been inspected regularly. In April the Care Quality Commission (CQC) downgraded the hospital's children's services to inadequate, the lowest possible rating. Read full story Source: BBC News, 10 January 2024
  20. Content Article
    Reckitt has taken the precautionary step of recalling Nutramigen LGG stage 1 and stage 2 Hypoallergenic Formula powders because of the possible presence of Cronobacter sakazakii. Both products are foods used for special medical purposes for infants. The products are mainly prescribed but are also available without a prescription. Symptoms caused by Cronobacter sakazakii usually include fever and diarrhoea, and in severe cases may lead to sepsis or meningitis which include symptoms in infants including poor feeding, irritability, temperature changes, jaundice (yellow skin and whites of the eyes) and abnormal breaths and movements. Read Reckitt's recall notice
  21. Content Article
    Childhood immunisation is a critically important public health initiative. However, since most vaccines are administered by injection, it is associated with considerable pain and distress. Despite evidence demonstrating the efficacy of various pain management strategies, the frequency with which these are used during routine infant vaccinations in UK practice is unknown. This study aimed to explore primary care practice nurses’ use of evidence-based pain management strategies during infant immunisation, as well as barriers to evidence-based practice.
  22. News Article
    At least 38 babies died in the space of nine years after serious incidents in the country’s maternity units, it has emerged. The total is based on research of both media reports of inquests and settled claims. Before Christmas, a review by the Irish Examiner revealed 21 hospital baby deaths followed one or more serious incidents, between 2013 and 2021. However, further study in the same nine-year period shows the toll to be higher. The worst year was 2018, when not only did at least 10 babies die, but three of them died at the same Dublin hospital over a five-month period. In at least 18 of the 38 deaths, issues around foetal heartbeat monitoring (CTG) were raised either at inquest or in the High Court. At least 18 of the inquests resulted in a verdict of medical misadventure. As well as issues around heart monitoring, the Irish Examiner review shows that in at least seven of the 38 cases, maternity staff missed signs that a woman was in labour, leading to repeated recommendations around training. In at least seven cases, mothers’ concerns were ignored. Read full story Source: Irish Examiner, 29 December 2023
  23. News Article
    Hospital admissions from a winter virus could be reduced by more than 80% if babies are given a single dose of a new antibody treatment, a study says. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms, but can lead to bronchiolitis and pneumonia. More than 30,000 under fives are hospitalised with RSV in the UK annually, resulting in 20 to 30 deaths. One British parent said her son getting RSV was "very scary" as a first-time mother. Lorna and Russell Smith's eldest son, Caolan, got the virus when he was eight months old and was admitted to hospital twice - each time requiring oxygen. Now aged two, he has made a full recovery. "I hadn't heard of RSV and wasn't sure what to do. He had laboured breathing due to high temperature and was quite lethargic. It brought a lot of anxiety and stress," Lorna said. The Harmonie study involved 8,000 children up to the age of 12 months, with half receiving a single dose of the monoclonal antibody treatment nirsevimab. The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that RSV-related hospitalisation was reduced by 83% in those receiving the jab and admissions for all chest infections were cut by 58%. Side effects were similar in both groups and mostly mild. Read full story Source: BBC News, 27 December 2023
  24. News Article
    Hospital neglect contributed to the death of a two month old baby after staff turned off emergency alarms, a coroner has ruled. Louella Sheridan died at Royal Bolton Hospital in on 24 April 2022 after she was admitted with bronchiolitis to the hospital’s intensive care unit before later dying from Covid and a related heart condition. Four alarms on a monitoring machine were silenced and then switched off before the baby collapsed in a high dependency unit, it has been found. On Wednesday coroner John Pollard ruled neglect by staff had contributed to Louella’s death after staff switched off the alarms on the monitors attached to her during the night. Summing up his conclusion Coroner Pollard reportedly said there was a “gross failure “ to provide basic medical care to Louell and that had care been given, had the alarms been switched on to alert staff her life may have been extended at least for a short period of time. He said turning off the alarms was a gross type of conduct. Read full story Source: The Independent, 22 December 2023
  25. Content Article
    This study compared two quality improvement (QI) interventions to improve antenatal magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) uptake in preterm births for the prevention of cerebral palsy. It found that PReCePT improved MgSO4 uptake in all maternity units. Enhanced support did not further improve uptake but may improve teamwork, and more accurately represented the time needed for implementation. Targeted enhanced support, sustainability of improvements and the possible indirect benefits of stronger teamwork associated with enhanced support should be explored further.
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