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Baby Lifeline launches trials of ‘community midwife bags’ around UK

Mother and baby charity Baby Lifeline has launched ‘community midwife bag’ trials around the UK.

The bags, styled like rucksacks and containing essential equipment to support women and their babies during childbirth, have been launched with the help of BBC’s ‘Call the Midwife’ actresses Linda Bassett and Leonie Elliot.

Each compartment of the bag is colour coded so that items such as emergency equipment, scissors to cut the umbilical cord, baby hat and towels, are easily accessible.

Midwives at six UK trusts will trial 42 bags from April this year. The trusts involved include: Barts Health NHS Trust, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Kettering General Hospital NHS oundation Trust, Medway NHS Foundation Trust, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust (merging in April).

The project has been funded by Fawsley Birth Centre, who donated funds to Baby Lifeline, and comes after a community midwives’ national survey highlighted that 40% of current home birth bags and equipment are not meeting the needs of midwives. Furthermore, the survey found that 35% of home birth bags are bought by the midwives themselves, with 27% not having all the equipment needed. 30% of those who responded to the survey also said they did not feel the current bag was even safe to use.

Gill Edwards, Partner and Clinical Negligence solicitor here at PRD, is a member of Baby Lifeline’s ‘Multi Professional Advisory Panel’ and specialises in the field of claimant clinical negligence including birth injury. Gill said:

I expect that most people will be surprised to learn that there is no standard set of equipment carried by midwives when they attend a birth in the community and that in some cases midwives are even buying their own equipment to take with them, but this is the message loud and clear from the front-line community midwives attending the Baby Lifeline training courses.

Having listened to these concerns, Baby Lifeline has launched the community midwife bag project to demonstrate the value of every midwife having the right equipment. Let’s hope that this results in every Trust across the country adopting the bag and in time we will look back and wonder why this was ever an issue.

More information about Baby Lifeline and the ‘Community Midwives’ project can be found here.

Gill Edwards is a Partner and clinical negligence solicitor with PotterReesDolan. Should you have any queries about clinical negligence issues or indeed any other aspect of this article and wish to speak to Gill or any other member of the team please contact us on 0161 237 5888.