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Maternity Unit at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals nominated for a Nursing Times award

The Nursing Times Awards have nominated the Maternity Unit at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals as a finalist for the prestigious Patient Safety Improvement Award.

The team have been nominated for their work in reducing the number of new born admissions to the Neonatal Unit caused by hypoglycaemia (a condition caused by low blood sugar), by 80%.

The maternity unit introduced interventions such as the ‘golden hour’ of skin-to-skin contact, where mothers and their new born babies to experience a period of undisturbed skin-to-skin contact for at least an hour, or until after the first feed.

Evidence shows skin-to-skin contact initiates strong instinctive behaviours, which calm and relax both mother and baby and creates the conditions for early feeding by stabilising the baby’s blood sugar and reducing the risk of hypoglycaemia.

Andrea Whitehead, Service Development Midwife at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“It’s wonderful to see the tireless dedication of maternity and neonatal staff has resulted in this service improvement and reduced the need for mother and baby separation. Our improvement work highlights the impact on mothers and babies when staff work together across traditional boundaries. Following the success of this project, we have now implemented our ‘Working Better Together Group’, where teams from across the maternity and neonatal service meet regularly to collaborate and focus on making continuous quality improvements for women and babies.”

Before the golden hour’s introduction in April 2017, 65 babies a year became hypoglycaemic at term and were admitted to the Trust’s neonatal unit where they were separated from their mother for an average of three days.

But after 18 months of continuous quality improvement, only 12 were admitted to the unit. 

Sarah Cullen, Nursing, Midwifery and AHP Director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“I am so proud of our maternity team for pioneering such an important project. Skin-to-skin contact is so important and the success of this project shows just how effective it can be. This is just one of the many initiatives in place at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals which aims to improve patient safety and experience, both for mums and dads and their new arrivals. We are delighted to have been nominated and we wish all the other nominees the very best of luck, too.”

The approach is part of the national Maternity and Neonatal Safety Improvement Programme, which has been adopted across the Trust by its midwifery, obstetric and neonatal teams, supported by awareness and training events.

Winners will be announced on Wednesday 18th November at the Nursing Times Awards virtual ceremony. For more information and to see a full list of finalists, visit

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