Avoiding Brain Injury in Childbirth (ABC) programme receives £3 million funding

on 05 November 2021

The Avoiding Brain Injury in Childbirth (ABC) programme, in partnership with the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and THIS Institute, has received and extra £3 million in funding.

The Patient Safety Minister Maria Caulfield, announced £3 million will go towards the second phase of the ABC programme which aims to improve maternity care and reducing brain injuries at birth. The project received £2 million for the first phase.

For the second phase, the project will be utilising this funding to roll out tools and training products as well as seeking to address workplace culture factors, such as ensuring midwives and obstetricians are working together to deliver safe maternity care.

Patient Safety Minister Maria Caulfield said: “I want every mother and baby to get the best possible care and start to life and am committed to supporting our dedicated NHS staff to make positive changes, backed by over £5 million of investment.

“The second phase of this vital programme will help us improve maternity care and prevent mothers and babies from suffering the trauma of a brain injury during birth.

“I thank the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for leading the work to roll out tools and training to support maternity teams to provide excellent care.”

The ABC project aims to deliver the following tools and training to midwives and obstetricians:

  • The development and testing of national tools to monitor and identify any deterioration in the baby’s health during childbirth
  • Training for midwives and doctors focusing on teamwork, cooperation and positive working relationships, alongside technical skills, is being developed and pilot tested
  • A strategy to improve national databases to help identify what enables excellent care, bringing together CQC reports and published data on national brain injury rates
  • A childbirth safety culture toolkit to be developed and piloted which will include a new approach to ensure the whole system learns from good practice and mistakes.

Chief executive of RCM, Gill Walton, said: ““While rare, brain injury to a baby is devastating for the mother and her family, and even more so when those injuries could have been avoided. We must do all we can to prevent this happening and this latest funding is a boost to that end.

“The call from women, midwives and doctors is clear. They want and need support, tools, training, and systems to stop these tragedies happening. This welcome injection of money and the work it will fund will take us further towards reducing brain injury around birth, and the RCM along with our partners in this initiative will continue to work hard to make this happen. There is more work to be done but this is another positive step in the right direction.”

Chief Midwifery Officer for England, Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, added: “The NHS is committed to improving safety for women and babies in maternity services, and this second phase of the Avoiding Brain injuries in Childbirth programme is the next step in making the NHS the best place in the world to give birth.

“These new tools - to spot warning signs at an earlier stage - will help keep families and their babies safe from life-changing brain injuries and achieve our goal to halve brain injuries during birth by 2025.”

More information about the ABC project can be found here.