Mary Atkinson.jpgNinety per cent of midwives and 96 per cent of paediatricians at NCIC have now attended a specialist course which teaches them how to treat babies needing immediate resuscitation to stabilise them in the first few minutes of their lives.

The Newborn Life Support (NLS) course is a full day mandatory course that has to be completed every four years by staff who might be exposed to babies born with some initial compromise to heart and lung function.

Dr David Lewis, Resuscitation Director at NCIC, said: “The babies may need immediate resuscitation to stabilise them in the first few minutes of their lives.

“This means that all the trust midwives and paediatric staff working in maternity units need to have this training to give such babies the best chance of survival and full recovery.

“Having this training ensures that staff are confident in managing these very difficult tiny babies and gives them much better outcomes.”

Three years ago the compliance with this training was poor.

Mary Atkinson, who is the midwifery and paediatric educational lead, took it upon herself to change this.

Dr Lewis said: “Mary has worked tirelessly to have all the mandated staff trained and to make the compliance as high as it currently is at 90 per cent for the Trust which, I believe, is the first time that this has been achieved and is certainly the first of the various life support courses to have got to the target level set by the Trust, which is why it is, in my view outstanding.

“Without Mary’s drive and determination over the past three years this would certainly not have been possible and so all credit must go to her alone for this achievement.

“I am hopeful that Basic Life Support (BLS) which is currently at 85 per cent will soon join NLS at the 90 per cent mark, quickly followed by European Paediatric Life Support (EPALS) and Paediatric Life Support, which are two other courses that have suffered poor compliance over the past couple of year but which, thanks to the resuscitation team led by Jo Flower, are now showing great improvement.”

Mary, a practice development midwife, said: “It’s been three years of hard work but we got there – now we have to keep the momentum going.

“The majority of staff are now NLS trained we are providing the same level of care to those babies that need assistance in transitioning to external life, i.e. not inutero.

“I’m not sure how we benchmark against other trusts but I expect we must be one of the highest in the country.

“My job involves co-ordinating attendance at courses – a challenge as courses are much sought after as places are limited.

“I now have a good working relationship with course administrators at centres. I also provide managers with regular updates for their staff.”


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