North Bristol NHS Trust maternity unit awarded £16,000 by Department of Health

Monday, 7 March 2016

North Bristol NHS Trust has been awarded £16,000 as part of a drive to make the NHS one of the safest places in the world to have a baby.

This award will be spent on a videolaryngoscope, which will be used to help anaesthetists to manage the airways of women who require a general anaesthetic for the delivery of their baby. This tends to be necessary during obstetric emergencies, such as when a mother is haemorrhaging, when it is important to act as quickly as possible.

The physical changes which women undergo during pregnancy mean that it can be more difficult to intubate them (insert a tube down the windpipe to open the airway) and a videolaryngoscope can give a better view of the airway.

The equipment to aid intubation can also be used in women with health conditions, which mean they cannot have a regional anaesthetic.

Maternity staff at Southmead Hospital celebrate the news that the Department of Health is awarding £16,000 as part of a £2 million initiative to improve maternity safety nationally

The award is part of a fund of more than £2million which the Department of Health has awarded to trusts across the country as part of the Government’s commitment to halve the number of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths and brain injuries occurring during or soon after birth by 2030.

Lead for Obstetric Anaesthesia at North Bristol NHS Trust, Nicola Weale, said: “We need to intubate every woman who requires a general anaesthetic during labour and that is more difficult in obstetric cases than in the general population.

“A videolaryngoscope can make the procedure more straightforward and is now recommended in new guidelines from the Obstetric Anaesthetics Association and the Difficult Airway Society.

“This award will make a real difference to the women we care for in labour and their babies and we are delighted that this kit will complement the work we already do at North Bristol NHS Trust to make childbirth as safe as possible.”

Health Minister Ben Gummer said: “It is my ambition to ensure the NHS is one of the safest places in the world to have a baby. Our staff do an excellent job providing high quality care but it is vital that they have the right equipment to continue to do this, that’s why I am really pleased that so many trusts will benefit from this fund.

“I am determined to ensure we do everything we can to reduce the number of families going through the heartache of stillbirth, neo natal death, maternal death and brain injury occurring during or soon after birth.”

Trusts have received funding to spend on kit including new ultrasound machines and mother and baby monitoring equipment, so any problems can be detected and addressed earlier.

As part of its campaign to improve maternity safety, the Government is also investing £500,000 to develop a new system to be used consistently across the NHS so staff can review and learn from every stillbirth and neonatal death. As well as £1million to roll out training packages so staff have the skills and confidence they need to deliver world-leading safe care and £365 million to improve perinatal mental health services.

Ministers will work with top consultants, midwives and other experts both across this country and internationally to ensure the very best practice is applied across the NHS. There is also a drive to improve the data available to staff and patients.

This focus on improving maternity services is part of a wider commitment by the Government, backed by a £10billion investment in the NHS, to ensure all patients receive the very best care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Every year approximately 6,500 babies are born with North Bristol NHS Trust at its birth centres, Central delivery Suite and in women’s own homes and all staff undergo PROMPT training.

The Trust was highlighted in the National Maternity Review as an example of good practice for the local multi-professional training programme (PROMPT) that was developed at Southmead Hospital and has now been rolled out in more than 45 countries.

PROMPT training is carried out in clinical areas and homebirth settings and is attended by all maternity staff and has improved outcomes for babies after birth.