The NHS has appointed England’s first Chief Midwife to improve care for new and expectant mothers and their children and promote safer births as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent will be the first to take on the new role, to oversee delivery of a package of measures building on increased safety and support in maternity care. The Chief Midwifery Officer will become the most senior midwife in England, providing professional, strategic and clinical leadership to colleagues working across the country.
Ruth May, the new Chief Nurse for England has pledged to ensure the voices of nurses and midwives will be valued and heard across the NHS. She also set out her vision for the role and said her three priorities to support delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan and give full recognition to the value of the nursing profession will be to address workforce shortfalls; enhance pride in the profession and strengthen perceptions of nursing and midwifery as high-value careers; and to help nurses and midwives to influence and lead change at every level across the NHS.
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An announcement by NHS England and supported by the BMA says that from this summer, all women and girls being cared for by the NHS will be given, on request, appropriate sanitary products free of charge. Many hospitals already provide them but this will be mandated in the new standard contract with hospitals for 2019-20. The announcement has been welcomed by charity Freedom4Girls, which campaigns against period poverty.
People who arrive at A&E experiencing a mental health crisis will receive emergency care within one hour under NHS pilot schemes aimed at improving care and saving more lives. This new standard is among a raft of proposed clinical improvements that aim to deliver rapid assessment and treatment for patients with the most serious conditions, and expand short waits for millions more NHS patients. Patients experiencing a mental health crisis will also be able to access quick care in their own home or community, while no one who urgently needs help should wait more than 24 hours.
As part of the NHS Long Term Plan to save thousands more lives, hospital staff must alert senior doctors if patients with suspected sepsis do not respond to treatment within an hour. The guidance was drawn up with the Royal College of Physicians, The Royal College of GPs, NICE and the UK Sepsis Trust.
The NMC Chief Executive, Angela Sutcliffe has published her latest blogs which talk about why some Fitness to Practise hearings are held in private and about her latest visit to The Royal Liverpool University Hospital.
Read the latest blog | Read the second blog
Public Health England has launched a new campaign ‘Cervical Screening Saves Lives’ which urges women to attend their cervical screening. Data shows that the number of women attending screening has fallen to a 20-year low.
New guidance regarding homeless women whilst pregnant has been published by the Royal College of Midwives. The Homelessness Reduction Act (HRA) came into force in England on 3rd April 2018 to prevent and stop homelessness by offering early support to those at risk of becoming homeless or who are homeless. It also places a new duty on health services, including maternity, to help those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
A new research project, led by the University of Leicester and funded by Sands, is set to explore how websites and apps can provide better support to women during the perinatal stage of pregnancy. The study aims to make recommendations that will improve identification of at risk pregnancies and improve interventions.
Read more about the project
Sands have funded research which has found that a simple blood test to measure bile acids in the blood can provide information about the risk of stillbirth for pregnant women with a common liver disorder called Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy or ICP. The research was carried out by teams based at King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust. This discovery means that pregnant women can now be targeted to receive the right care to keep themselves and their baby safe.