More than £2m of funding for maternity safety equipment is being made available to NHS trusts in England as part of the government’s drive to halve the number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths in the next 15 years.
Trusts are being encouraged to apply for between £5,000 and £30,000 of equipment, which could include “complex needs suites” for women at higher risk, training mannequins, monitoring equipment, and training resources.
“This new fund…will help pay for the latest equipment to help deliver safe care every day of the week”
It is hoped the £2.4m maternity safety fund will help the government achieve its goal of reducing the number of stillbirths, maternal deaths, neonatal deaths and neonatal brain injuries by 20% by 2020, and halving them by 2030.
The launch of this new funding follows a recent report by MBRRACE-UK which revealed “unacceptable” variations in maternity services.
It looked at stillbirth and neonatal death rates for individual trusts and said 21 that were graded as “red” out of a total 162 should hold a review of maternity services, with a further 52 also recommended to consider a review.
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Those organisations being considered for the new pot of funding are advised to consider the findings from the MMBRACE report in their application.
Launching the funding, health minister Ben Gummer said: “This new fund is part of our campaign to improve safety for the hundreds of thousands of mothers who give birth in the NHS every year.
“The money will help pay for the latest equipment to help deliver safe care every day of the week,” he said. “I am determined to ensure we do everything we can to reduce the number of families going through the heartache of stillbirth, maternal death and neonatal brain injury.
“That is why we are providing additional training for staff, a public awareness campaign and improved access to data for staff and patients,” he added.