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Collaborative working improves screening for babies and mums in Cumbria

8 people are all sat at a table where they look like they're having a meeting. They are all facing the camera. Several are in nurses uniform.
Open and cooperative discussions between CHIS and practitioners in Cumbria is encouraged so that concerns, issues and ideas can be shared

Cumbria is a large county with hospitals spread many miles apart. This can make providing screening and immunisation services challenging, so collaborative working is essential.

Following an incident, a training workshop was held for colleagues involved in immunisations and antenatal screening in Cumbria.

This workshop involved staff and practitioners from the 3 areas that make up the Cumbria Child Health Information Services (CHIS), antenatal and newborn screening co-ordinator specialist midwives and failsafe officers. We use the CHIS IT system to record clinical activity and public health interventions with children.

At the workshop we defined everyone’s role and how they fit into the bigger picture. This workshop laid the foundation of our new more joined-up ways of working.

Heading: An Ode to Cumbria Collaborative Working. Text: This is a story of collaborative working Between CHIS and antenatal screening We met at meetings and weve a workshop To better understand each other's job We tackled the pathway of Hepatitis B And we have done the same for the BCG NBBS and improved data flow Keeps each in the know Our two organisations will soon become one But for us the hard work is already done We will continue to work, strive and test To ensure out children always receive the best Composed by Anne Edwards, North Cumbria CHIS Team Leader at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Anne Edwards' poem celebrating the collaborative approach

Hepatitis B pathway strengthened

A similar meeting was held for stakeholders involved in the hepatitis B screening and immunisation pathways to review processes.

After a tentative start to the meeting there was an open and cooperative discussion with all participants sharing how they could make processes more robust.

Before the workshop, details of a woman’s positive hepatitis B antenatal screening result from the infectious diseases in pregnancy screening (IDPS) programme were received after birth via their baby’s birth notification.

By working in partnership, it was agreed this process would change and copies of the result letter would be received before the woman gives birth. This means we are now alerted to a babies' need for vaccinations before birth as well as after birth.

We then further strengthened the pathway by introducing a failsafe process involving sharing information with the GP practice immunisation nurse.

Collaborative working in action

When a GP contacted me recently about whether a baby had received a hepatitis B vaccine, we found we did not have any information about this baby on the CHIS system. On reviewing the case with the screening coordinator we established that the baby had actually been vaccinated in the special care baby unit (SCBU).

This highlighted that we needed to improve our communication with SCBUs about babies who have had their vaccination.

Last year, as a result of these improvements, all the relevant practitioners were made aware of the vaccination status of another baby at higher risk of hepatitis B. Our screening and immunisation coordinator at Public Health England (PHE) has praised our collaborative working.

Other collaborative successes

Partnership working has led to improvements in the flow of data within our BCG programme.

Also due to improved communication links, we are able to ensure that newborn and infant physical examination (NIPE), newborn blood spot and newborn hearing screening programmes are informed of any child bereavements and movers into the area.

We continue to build on collaborative working by meeting quarterly. We encourage open and cooperative discussion to help CHIS, the antenatal screening, maternity services and pathology laboratories plan and share concerns, issues and ideas.

These regular meetings cement our working relationships and we now feel like one team rather than separate departments.

PHE Screening blogs

PHE Screening blogs provide up to date news from all NHS screening programmes. You can register to receive updates direct to your inbox, so there’s no need to keep checking for new blogs. If you have any questions about this blog article, or about population screening in England, please contact the PHE screening helpdesk.

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