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New training package to improve safety in labour

L-R: Consultant midwives Wendy Randall and Christine Harding

New national training package to improve safety in labour conceived at the Royal Berkshire Hospital

A new national training programme which started life at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading aims to improve safety for mothers and babies during labour and birth. The interactive e-learning package is the first to integrate real fetal heart sounds, helping midwives to improve their knowledge, skills and confidence when monitoring babies’ hearts in the womb. It is the only training package that can meet the requirements of NHS England’s Saving Babies’ Lives version 2 care bundle for reducing perinatal mortality.


The training was the brainchild of consultant midwife Christine Harding, at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, in collaboration with fellow consultant midwife Wendy Randall from Oxford University Hospitals. Christine and Wendy developed the interactive training with patient safety and maternity experts from the Oxford Academic Health Science Network. Health Education England provided additional support for the package which is about to be launched on their e-learning hub.


“Until now we’ve had to teach midwives how to listen to the baby’s heart rate during labour using only theory, said Christine. “This is the first time we have been able to use real fetal heart sounds to demonstrate how to do it in a much more practical and accurate way. I am so proud to have co-led this new training and assessment initiative which really does have huge implications for improving the safety of mothers and babies and I am delighted that it has sparked an interest nationally and internationally. We are really leading the way here at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.” 


The training programme has been endorsed by the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. In addition, it has already been recognised at a number of national awards including those run by the British Journal of Midwifery and Each Baby Counts.



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