Mother and baby charity Baby Lifeline has tonight launched a new campaign to improve maternity care standards across the UK – winning support from leading specialists with its call for a new national standardisation of in-house hospital training programmes.
Its ‘Monitoring for Mums Appeal’ – launched at the charity’s 35th anniversary gala dinner in London – calls for a greater focus on in-house training across all NHS Trusts, ensuring they deliver the same, relevant programmes covering key areas of maternity care, whilst also raising funds for maternity units in hospitals across the UK to buy vital new equipment.
It comes after extensive Freedom of Information research saw more than half of 125 Trusts admitting to providing four days or less of in-house mandatory maternity training every year, with many having a heavy reliance on e-learning and poor, or non-existent, evaluation of training programmes.
Research also found there be no consistency over which areas of maternity care are classed as ‘mandatory’ for training at Trusts, with training delivered in different ways across the country, with no clear standardisation of topics, duration of training, method of delivery, frequency or assessment.
The campaign, which we at Hudgell Solicitors are supporting, is also giving people across the UK the chance to raise funds or donate directly to their local hospital maternity units – ensuring they can purchase much needed equipment which hospitals have identified themselves as being required to improve standards of care.
As part of the campaign, Baby Lifeline asked UK NHS maternity units to list the equipment needed to provide the best possible maternity service to mothers and babies – with each hospital having its own dedicated fund-raising target, and details of the equipment they need on the campaign website.
In total, equipment with a value of more than £4.5m has been requested across the UK.
Baby Lifeline founder Judy Ledger believes it is a unique campaign, as it gives people the opportunity to make a real difference in their communities, making donations which could save the lives of future generations of their own families.
She said: “It simply cannot be right that training provision varies widely between hospital Trusts in England, in terms of which topics are offered and how they are provided.
“We’d welcome any discussions with Government officials on how this could be moved forward, and would love to help find solutions to plug the obvious training gap which exists and cannot be allowed to continue.
“Baby Lifeline receives applications for funding from the majority of NHS maternity units, and over half of those ask for important monitoring equipment, and associated training for staff, so it is clear that there is a huge need for updated, modern equipment.
“Through our new campaign website, which has been provided with the support of Hudgell Solicitors, we are making it simple for people to see exactly what their local maternity unit requires and how much it will cost, whilst providing a simple way to donate. People can see that their money is going to improve maternity services local to them.
“We believe this donation website, alongside our campaign to improve in-house training in all UK hospitals, can make a real difference to families across the UK, reducing stillbirth rates, avoiding preventable brain injuries and promoting normal birth.”