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New pre-eclampsia test will help increase patient safety

News of a new blood test which promises to detect pre-eclampsia in half the time as current methods is a welcome development.

The condition, which is developed by around one in ten women in the latter stages of pregnancy, can prove fatal if not diagnosed and monitored appropriately. The new test will be rolled out across the NHS following a study in the Lancet.

Pregnancy is a joyful time for many women, but it is essential that both mother and baby are carefully monitored throughout. Pre-eclampsia can prove very dangerous potentially leading to babies being born prematurely or, in more severe cases, can prove fatal if not detected and treated before complications develop.

The current methods can take up to four days involving both urine and blood pressure tests. The new test promises to detect pre-eclampsia in half the time reducing incidents where patient safety is at risk.

Pre-eclampsia can occur at any time after 24 weeks to the end of a pregnancy. The NHS advises that early symptoms include high blood pressure and, in some cases, fluid retention causing swelling in the feet, ankles, face and hands.

Other symptoms which may develop include:

-          Severe headache

-          Problem with sight

-          Pain just below the ribs

Pregnancy and birth is a precious time but also a time when both mother and baby are at their most vulnerable. Medical innovation at a time when many maternity units across the country are under increasing scrutiny will be a welcome relief for mothers to be.

Diane Rostron and her team have more than 20 years’ medical negligence experience specialising in birth injuries. Families who have suffered a significant injury before, during or just after birth can contact the team for free initial advice on 01253 766 559.

 

 

 

 

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Promise of more neonatal nurses not enough

The government’s ambitious announcement on 30 December to make the NHS “the best place to give birth in the world” should be met with caution.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s objectives include improving the safety, quality and continuity of care for women. The plans promise more neonatal nurses and other specialists to halve the number of stillbirths, maternal and infant deaths and serious birth injuries by 2025.

The continued focus and funding for maternity units is desperately needed. The announcement is positive news for pregnant women and for those who plan to start or grow their family in the future. This is just the start of addressing some of the key issues in maternity units across the country, however.

A greater commitment and focus on providing adequate, and ongoing, staff training is essential. The recurring issues that we see point to a lack of sufficient training and communication.

Medical staff failing to listen and adequately react to pregnant women’s concerns is sadly common.

Other repeated issues in hospitals across England and Wales include failing to recognise when more senior staff need to be involved when there are signs that the baby is in distress during labour and inadequate monitoring during this vulnerable period.

The health and social care secretary has promised “personalised, high quality support” for women from pregnancy through to their child’s first months.

Women need to feel safe when being cared for during their pregnancy through to birth. They should be able to take for granted that the care that they receive at this precious time is adequate.

They should also be able to trust that the specialists will be appropriately trained to recognise when things may potentially go wrong and to respond accordingly to prevent this from happening.

If your family has suffered following a birth injury, contact our friendly team for a free confidential consultation on 01253 766 559.

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