https://phescreening.blog.gov.uk/2019/10/11/day-life-annb-failsafe-officer/

A day in the life of an antenatal and newborn screening failsafe officer

A woman sitting in front of a computer screen with her hands on the keyboard
Leanne doing her day-to-day duties as an ANNB failsafe officer

I am an antenatal and newborn failsafe screening officer for Northumbria Healthcare Trust.

My post was a new position within the Trust. It’s a role that continues to develop as do the screening programmes. Being a failsafe officer is something I really enjoy, and a role in which I can develop, and put my own stamp on it. On top of that, I also have the benefit of working with 2 fantastic screening coordinators.

My main duty as a failsafe officer is to check the points on the screening pathway, and to make sure processes are in place so that nobody falls through the gap and misses out on screening or timely follow-up.

A typical day begins… checking for babies with screen positive results

My working day usually starts at 9am after dropping off my 2 young girls at school. I first check the national newborn and infant physical examination (NIPE) SMaRT4NIPE (S4N) system for all referrals for hips, heart, eyes and testes.

Having 20 years’ administration and systems management background has been beneficial for managing the processes required for tracking screening results for women and babies.

I follow this up by checking that all babies that require a hip referral have an appointment within the correct timeframe and have attended the appointment. I also make sure that post screen positive outcomes are recorded on the S4N system as making sure the pathway is complete is a critical part of failsafe management.

Cross-checking antenatal screening results

I am responsible for making sure all women who book at the Trust and have accepted screening have a clear result recorded on the maternity system. I do this by cross-checking a weekly list I receive from the data analysis team against the laboratory result system. I follow up any results that are not available, with the community midwife that completed the booking.

If I come across any women who have miscarried, I send the screening results to their home address.

Following up on outcomes

Our screening laboratory for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome requires us to complete an outcome of pregnancy form. This is so they can monitor how well the screening programme is working. As part of my day, I complete these forms and send them to the laboratory.

Admin and audit

My role as failsafe officer includes arranging the antenatal and newborn screening meetings in the Trust. I take the minutes at these meetings and I also present the NIPE statistical data for the relevant quarter.

I am also responsible for the continuous notes audit, which looks at the booking process to ensure all screening tests are recorded correctly. This helps to improve our documentation.

My role also involves working on other types of audits, such as with NHS England to help audit the hip referral process. We have identified some areas that need improving upon, which I have discussed with the screening coordinators and our data analyst team. We are working hard to plug any gaps that we have.

Every Trust should have a ‘me’

I feel that my role makes a difference to the safety of the screening pathway. Failsafe officers help to identify when and where things are not working so that trusts can improve them. We also help audit how well we are doing, and I think that every Trust should have one.

Requirements for the position include, having an interest in making processes work, being observant and enjoying the job!

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