Screening pregnant women for GBS not recommended

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Following a further comprehensive review of the evidence, the UK National Screening Committee has not recommended a national screening programme for GBS in pregnancy.


Breastfeeding ‘doesn’t boost children’s intelligence’ – Behind the Headlines – NHS Choices

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A new study followed about 8,000 babies in Ireland for five years to look at whether breastfeeding had an impact on problem solving and vocabulary (cognitive abilities), and problem behaviours.

“Scientists found tots given the boob had the same IQ at age three and five compared to bottle-fed youngsters,” The Sun reports in its own unique way.

This study has tackled the controversial question of whether there are long-term benefits of breastfeeding for cognitive ability or problem behaviours when children are older (ages three to five). Although they found very limited evidence of benefit, the authors do note that there are some other studies that have used a similar analysis but found differing results. The researchers think this could be due to slight differences in analysis.

This does highlight the difficulties in being absolutely certain whether breastfeeding has direct impact on long-term cognitive outcomes. What we can say is that, if there are differences, they do not appear to be large once other factors are taken into. This may be reassuring to women who were not able to breastfeed.

The strengths of this study include its large size, the fact that it followed participants prospectively for a long period, and took into account a large number of factors that could be influencing the link. There are some limitations. For example, they collected information on breastfeeding at nine months. In some cases mothers may not have been able to accurately remember exactly how long they breastfed for by that point, or felt pressure to report longer durations than were actually achieved.

Read the full Behind the Headlines report article here

or here for the study on which the article is based (Girard L-C, Doyle O, Tremblay RE. Breastfeeding, Cognitive and Noncognitive Development in Early Childhood: A Population Study. Pediatrics. Published online March 27 2017 )

National Perinatal Mortality Review Tool to go live by end of 2017

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HQIP has commissioned MBRRACE-UK to develop and establish a standardised National Perinatal Mortality Review Tool (PMRT) on behalf of the Department of Health (England), and the Welsh and Scottish Governments. The tool, which is being designed with the involvement of bereaved parents, will be free for use by NHS maternity and neonatal units in England, Wales and Scotland. It is being piloted this summer and is scheduled to launch by the end of 2017

The main purpose of the tool is to enable high quality reviews of the circumstances and care leading up to cases of stillbirth and neonatal death

More details here

Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneers – Q&A doc

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The Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneers have been developed to test ways of improving choice and personalisation for women accessing maternity services.  All of the Pioneers will seek to deepen as well as widen the choices available to women across clinical commissioning group (CCG) boundaries, by seeking to attract new providers of services into their areas and empowering women to take control in decisions about the care they receive, to meet their needs and preferences.

Supported by NHS England and other partners, the Pioneers will work rapidly over an 18 month period to develop and test ways of improving choice and personalisation of maternity services for women in their localities. NHS England will draw on this work and promote it for national adoption and adaptation as the Pioneers progress, to support all areas of the country to offer personalised maternity care tailored to women’s needs and preferences.

Read details of the programme here

Read the new Q&As here

NIHR Signal – MRI scans help confirm ultrasound diagnosis of fetal brain abnormalities

Cava septum pellucidi
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If fetal brain abnormality is suspected on a pregnancy ultrasound, following this with in-utero MRI (iuMRI) improves diagnostic accuracy. This sequence could allow more informed discussions and decision-making around whether to continue with or terminate a pregnancy.

The NIHR funded study included 565 women of 18 weeks’ pregnancy or more who received ultrasound followed by iuMRI. Diagnoses were confirmed either by postnatal imaging of the baby or at post-mortem examination.

Overall iuMRI gave the correct diagnosis for 93% of scans compared to only 68% of ultrasounds. The accuracy of ultrasound declined above 24 weeks of pregnancy, whereas iuMRI performed well at all times. Clinicians reported that iuMRI scan results caused them to modify their future care planning in over 20% of cases.

Cost effectiveness was not assessed and iuMRI scans are not as widely available as ultrasound. Therefore, resource issues are an important consideration when judging whether or how to implement iuMRI into the diagnostic pathway.

Read the full signal here

Fitness to practise: BME nurses and midwives

BME report
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The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has published The progress and outcomes of black and minority ethnic (BME) nurses and midwives through the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s fitness to practise process. This report examines progress and outcomes of black and minority ethnic (BME) nurses and midwives through the Fitness to Practise process of the NMC.  Key findings show that BME midwives and nurses are more likely to be referred to the NMC than their white counterparts, however they are less likely to be struck off or suspended than white colleagues.

Read the NMC press release here

Read the full report here