“Reducing the Risk” – Tackling Infant Mortality in Wolverhampton


I recently served on the infant mortality Working Group on the City Council –


Now there is exciting new plans that are part of the  Reducing the Risk Programme now being considered.

In my role as a City Councillor I recently wrote to the Director of Public Health Ros Jervis 1206566111376377206tribut_No-Smoking_Sign_svg_hiin support of a training programme for young parents based around baby CPR  ……. I have now received this briefing note which is exciting and will be a key to helping in reducing infant deaths in our City going forward. This is what the briefing note informed me….

“During 2014 in response to data that indicated that Wolverhampton had the highest rate of infant mortality (death of a live born baby up to the age of one year) in England, a multi-agency infant mortality working group was established to identify what action could be taken across the city to address this issue.

Prematurity is one of the leading causes of infant death and professionals within the working group highlighted that establishing a ‘Reducing the Risk’ parent education and support programme could have beneficial results and assist in reducing the number on infant deaths. This matter was also raised by the Health Scrutiny Review into Infant Mortality that went before Cabinet as a key priority in the summer of 2015.

What is the Reducing the Risk Programme?

The Reducing the Risk (RtR) programme is a twelve month pilot support programme for parents with premature infants and other vulnerable mothers in Wolverhampton referred from midwifery services. There is currently no programme in Wolverhampton that would provide this support. The programme will provide parents with the following knowledge and skills:

  • Training on managing infant choking and resuscitation (CPR)
  • Advice on smoke free homes/environment, and referral to smoking cessation teams as appropriate
  • Guidance on normal care for babies, and how to recognise a poorly baby
  • Support with breast feeding and other feeding choices
  • Advice aimed at reducing the risk of sudden infant deaths (SIDS)
  • Guidance on healthy weaning; advice on a healthy diet
  • Smoking cessation and healthy lifestyle advice

The RtR programme will be delivered by a trained Health Care Assistant (HCA) within the neonatal unit. Parents with babies who have been cared for on the neonatal unit will receive individual training before the baby is discharged home.  Group sessions will be offered to vulnerable mothers whose babies were not cared for on the neonatal unit.  This 12 month programme is due to commence early 2016 and is funded by the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Public Health service.

The parents of around 400 babies per year who are admitted to the Neonatal Unit will benefit from the half-day training programme and it is hoped that in time it may be expanded to target all births within the RWT. The team is led by a consultant and senior neonatal nurse, who are supported by two nurses, 11 health care assistants and the RWT dietetics, smoking cessation and maternity baby friendly initiative teams. Representatives from The Lullaby Trust, a charity aimed at preventing unexpected deaths in infancy and promoting infant health, will also be working with the team.

Parents can attend the programme throughout the year on weekdays, weekends and one evening, and it will also available after the baby has been discharged.”

Councillor Phil Bateman added “I am sure that young parents and families across Wolverhampton will join with me in wishing this policy move to be successful. Reducing infant mortality in this City is an important goal, and there is a role for everyone in educating families to reduce the risk.”

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more


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