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National award for Musgrove for its work on reducing the number of stillbirths - 08 March 2017

National award for Musgrove for its work on reducing the number of stillbirths - 08 March 2017

Midwives at Musgrove Park Hospital have won a national award for developing a new care bundle that has halved the number of stillbirths in just two years by improving detection of at risk babies.

The Royal College of Midwives has recognised the excellent work done by maternity staff at Musgrove to implement the national NHS England care bundle, called Saving Babies Lives, which is part of the national aim to half the number of stillbirths by 2030.

Since introducing the care bundle almost two years ago, the number of stillborn babies at Musgrove has halved, and is well below the national average.

This has come through better support for women to stop smoking and the identification of small babies during pregnancy are two of the biggest factors in reducing stillbirths.

Thanks to the work, fewer women who give birth at Musgrove are smoking at the time their baby is born and Musgrove’s midwives are identifying half of all small babies during pregnancy.

Debra Young, head of midwifery and children’s services at Musgrove Park Hospital, said:

“We are very proud that the care given at our hospital has been recognised in this way by the Royal College of Midwives.

“This is very much a team achievement. All our doctors, consultants, midwives and maternity support workers have done so much hard work over the last few years to improve the experience of women who give birth at Musgrove, which is also making a real difference to our outcomes. 

“Experiencing a stillbirth is heartbreaking for parents and has a lifelong impact, so we are so pleased that all the measures we have put in place help to identify babies that might be more at-risk at the earliest opportunity has significantly reduced the number of families who have to go through this.”

Some of the ongoing work at Musgrove Park Hospital includes:

  • A smoke free PA system outside the maternity unit which plays a pre-recorded message of a child’s voice and can be triggered when a member of staff or the public sees a pregnant woman or visitor smoking outside the unit.
  • Carbon monoxide breath tests are given to all pregnant women, with all smokers referred to the NHS Mums2Be smokefree service.
  • The hospital has adopted the Perinatal Institute’s growth assessment protocol to improve the detection of small babies during pregnancy.
  • Staff are raising awareness of baby movements and the importance for women not to delay to report a change or reduction in movements. All pregnant women are issued with a wellbeing wallet and leaflet.
  • The hospital has developed closer links with maternity related charities, such as Sands, Arthur’s Foundation and Towards Together Tomorrow.