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South Western Ambulance Service Gives Thanks on 72nd Birthday

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South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is saying a huge Thank You to all its people, its colleagues across the NHS, and to everyone who has supported the NHS in this challenging year — as the NHS celebrates its 72nd birthday. 

More than seven decades after the NHS was founded on 5 July 1948, the Trust is expressing gratitude to everyone whose dedication, help and support has enabled it to meet the challenge of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.  

SWASFT is particularly thankful for its own 4,700 strong team of frontline, operational support and corporate services staff, as well as many others in the NHS who have all helped in the response to patients.

It is also hugely grateful to the thousands of former doctors, nurses and other health service staff who came out of retirement to battle coronavirus, the fellow key workers — from bus drivers and refuse collectors to social care staff and teachers — who have kept the country running and, of course, all those who stopped the spread of the virus by following the expert advice and staying home to save lives.

SWASFT has been supported by fire and rescue service colleagues who have worked alongside frontline teams, driving ambulances and providing much-needed assistance to patients.

We are also hugely grateful and proud of the Trust’s army of volunteer Community First Responders (CFRs) have also had a huge impact in supporting their local communities by attending patients before an ambulance reaches them.

This year has been the most challenging in NHS history with staff working around the clock to tackle coronavirus. Everyone has had a part to play and, in the most difficult days, NHS staff were sustained by the support of the communities they serve.

Individuals and businesses have generously delivered gifts to ambulance stations, and the members of the public have tirelessly shown their appreciation week after week.

Will Warrender CBE, the newly appointed Chief Executive of SWASFT, said: “On the 72nd birthday of the NHS I would like to say a huge thank you to all my colleagues at South Western Ambulance Service, our volunteers, our community, and everyone who has supported us this year.’

“I am proud of what my SWASFT colleagues have achieved in providing emergency and urgent care to so many patients in communities across the South West, whether it be clinical staff on the frontline, in ambulances, or those in the many support and corporate functions whose tireless efforts all keep the organisation running.’

“I am also particularly grateful to our healthcare colleagues in our region’s hospitals, at GP surgeries and pharmacies who have treated countless patients and helped so many others this year.”

London Ambulance Service Thanks Children for “Sharing” Their Mums and Dads

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The children of medics and call handlers at London Ambulance Service have been sent heartfelt letters from their parents’ bosses.

The letters have been sent to more than 1000 children thanking them for “sharing” their mum or dad with the ambulance service so they can care for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sarah Ablewhite’s son, Jack

Paramedic Sarah Ablewhite made the difficult decision to live apart from her 14-year-old son in March.

She said: “My son Jack takes a lot of medication, also his dad has some respiratory issues, so I wanted to protect them. But it has been the hardest thing.’

“We Facetime a lot but it gets very emotional. We both go through all the emotions — he has been scared about me working but also frustrated and angry he can’t see me.’

“Getting the letter just made him so proud and lifted his spirits.”

Ambulance crew Mark Reeve has been living in a hotel since the outbreak of the pandemic to protect his asthmatic six-year-old son.

Mark Reeve’s son, Christopher

Mark said: “It has been very hard to be away from him, particularly missing his sixth birthday, but I felt it was more than just my job to be on the frontline; it was something I had to do.’

“London Ambulance Service is also my family. I don’t know when I will be reunited with Christopher but it meant so much for him to get a letter.’

“He’s no longer worried, he thinks of me as a superhero, saving lives.” 

At the peak of the pandemic, London Ambulance Service was getting as many as 11,000 calls a day.

Charlene Letts, emergency ambulance crew and a mum-of-three, suggested the Service send a message out to families at a time when staff were working long and gruelling shifts.

Charlene Letts’ children, Kiera-Louize (11), Harrison (7), and Sophia (2)

Managers thought it was a great idea and immediately starting sending out the letters — which are personalised for every child.

Charlene said: “The letters are reassuring and made our children feel so special, it said they were heroes and thanked them personally for everything they are doing to help mummy and daddy.’

“This made them feel a part of the Service and that they were helping.’

“It has given me great pleasure that something positive can come out of what has been and continues to be challenging times.”

Shurelle with his son

Emergency medical technician Shurelle Elvique said: “Listening to my eldest son read out the letter gave me a sense of pride, I had tears in my eyes.’

“My youngest said it was ok, he did not mind sharing me so I could help look after sick people.’

“The letter made me feel appreciated in such a tough time, like I was really making a difference.”

Lorraine Quinlan, who works in one of the Service’s 999 control rooms, said: “My son has been so scared and has cried every time I’ve left home to go on shift.’

“Getting this letter has been a massive boost to him — and my daughter.”

Letters have also been sent to grandchildren, cousins, nieces and nephews — any child who has struggled while a loved one has been working. 

Chief Operating Officer of London Ambulance Service Khadir Meer said: “The sacrifice that our people and their children have made during the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of extraordinary.’

“I am incredibly indebted to our team for everything they have done and continue to do to care for Londoners.’

“With my own son having received a letter from the Chief Executive, I know only too well the power of this kind of letter written personally to your child in helping them understand the role their parents have played in tackling this crisis.”

Air Ambulance Heroes Need Your Help

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Air Ambulance Kent Surrey Sussex (KSS) has announced that it has raised more than £1m so far through its Coronavirus Emergency Appeal.

However, despite the generousity of all those who could donate, this is just over a third of the total shortfall which the charity was predicting.

Air Ambulances are reserved for only the most urgent and distressing emergencies which occur in our communities.

Recent cancellations of major events and a sudden decrease in fundraising income has caused a notable decrease in the vital funds which they need in order to operate and to serve us.

The life-saving charity launched its Coronavirus Emergency Appeal in April to cover the additional costs of operating its world-class pre-hospital emergency response service safely during the pandemic.

As a charity, this vital service relies heavily charitable donations from people like you, with some money also coming from grants.

KSS Crew with an emergency Air Ambulance

It costs KSS £14 million a year to deliver its emergency service, in which specialist doctors and paramedics provide critical treatment to patients at the scene of serious incidents where only the very highest skills sets available will do.

89% of these funds are typically raised through the incredible generosity of the people of Kent, Surrey and Sussex and the amazing people who volunteer and fundraise for them.

However, during this unprecedented year, the charity has been forced to launch an Emergency Appeal for the first time in its 30 year history.

KSS emergency Air Ambulance in flight

The charity has managed to raise £1m to date, thanks to the generous support from the public which has formed 86% of the money raised, and a Government grant which was shared across the 21 Air Ambulance charities within the UK.

Because all major fundraising events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future, and many traditional methods of raising money are now severely challenged, KSS is still facing a significant income shortfall and must raise a further £1.9m to ensure it can continue to save lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

David Welch, CEO of KSS commented: “We simply cannot thank people enough for the support we have received so far.’

View from a KSS emergency Air Ambulance helicopter

“When we launched our appeal, we aimed to raise £535,000 initially to meet the immediate additional costs of continuing our life-saving service during the pandemic and we have received an amazing response.’

“It is truly humbling how generous people can be. We’ve received help from a wide range of sources and in a variety of forms — from financial donations from our supporters and the communities we serve, through to PPE from local businesses, the loan of four vehicles from Jaguar Land Rover and a large supply of oil and AdBlue for our response vehicles from Moove.’

“Every single donation, every single gift has helped, and we are so thankful to everyone who has responded so far.’

“Yet, despite this and the contribution from Government, with the continued impact of the pandemic we still face a significant shortfall of £1.9m.’

“Last year, we were called out to help over 2,500 people in life-threatening situations across Kent, Surrey and Sussex.’

“We have an outstanding, highly skilled medical team and we are determined to continue to deliver the best possible outcomes for our patients and to continue to run our charity efficiently and responsibly.’

KSS Crew proudly show their gratitude for the £1m raised

“To secure our future, we urgently need your continued support – there are so many ways you can join those in the community who have already supported and got involved.’

“Let’s work together to continue to save lives during this difficult and unprecedented time.”

KSS has been rated “Outstanding” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in all five of its inspection criteria: ‘safe’, ‘effective’, ‘caring’, ‘responsive’ and ‘well-led’.

It is the only Air Ambulance Service to have achieved this, as well as being the busiest in the UK. KSS is also the only UK Air Ambulance Service which is able to fly to emergencies 24/7.  

To support the KSS Coronavirus Emergency Appeal, please visit www.aakss.org.uk/appeal

South Western Ambulance Service Trust Welcomes new CEO Will Warrender

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South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is pleased to welcome incoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Will Warrender CBE.

Will succeeds Ken Wenman, who retires, after more than 40 years’ service in the NHS.

“We are very excited that Will is joining us, bringing a wealth of leadership experience in complex and challenging environments,” said Chairman Tony Fox.  

With over 30 years’ Royal Navy experience, Will has spent much of his time at sea, where he commanded five warships; and ashore he led national and coalition maritime operations across 2.5 million square miles of water, in the Gulf.

Will Warrender CBE,
CEO, SWASFT

In 2018 he was made a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the military Operational Honours List and was awarded the US Legion of Merit in 2017 for his contribution to coalition maritime operations in the Gulf.

“His personal values are a great alignment with those of the Trust and we know that he will be an inclusive and compassionate leader, able to take us forward as we continue our drive to be an outstanding organisation in all that we do.’

“Finally, I would like to say thank you and to recognise the commitment and contribution Ken Wenman has made to SWASFT and to the Ambulance sector as a whole throughout his career.’

“Ken has driven innovation into the sector and has been instrumental in the development of paramedic clinical practices.’

“He was also at the forefront of successful mergers that shaped the Regional Service we have today. We wish him all the very best in his well-earned retirement,” said Mr Fox.

Outgoing-CEO Ken Wenman said: “It has been my privilege to serve the people and south west communities as SWASFT CEO.’

“We have a team of fantastic people and a firm foundation of patient-centred service on which to grow, under the next chapter of leadership.’

Ken Wenman,
CEO (Retired),
SWASFT

“Choosing the right time to retire has not been an easy decision; however SWASFT is in a good position and I am confident that the Board, led by Tony Fox and new CEO Will Warrender will seize the many opportunities that lie ahead.”

CEO Will Warrender said: “I am truly honoured to join the Trust at this highly unusual time — mid-global pandemic. Over the past few months, I have been inspired by the courage, dedication and continued commitment to patient and staff care.’

“I am reassured that my transition into the role will be supported by a caring Board, a strong Executive team and passionate people, where together we will maintain service continuity as the south west region manages and mitigates the impacts of Covid-19.

“My commitment as CEO is to compassionately lead a Trust that treats its people with respect, care, dignity and a culture that promotes transparency, inclusion, honesty, engagement, fairness, diversity and challenge.

“Together with our people and through patient and community feedback, I will be taking us on a  journey to achieve our 2025 and 2030 goals to deliver a world-class service, by making sure we are operationally fit-for-the-future and able to cope with increased demands of activity,” said Mr Warrender.

From July, Will sets out to safely meet as many of our 4500-strong workforce and 800 volunteers as possible, from across SWASFT. This will be achieved through carefully organised meetings using social distancing measures, personal protective equipment and virtual forums.

Green-Fingered Firefighters Display Appreciation to Ambulance Service Colleagues

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Bedford firefighters who were enlisted to help the East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) drive ambulances during the Coronavirus pandemic have designed and built a memorial garden at Luton ambulance station to show appreciation to their new workmates.

The inspiration for the ‘DIY SOS’ makeover came after the firefighters from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue saw two bouquets in the garden in memory of much-missed ambulance workers who had died of cancer and suicide.

They strongly felt that a much grander tribute was needed which would also serve as a tranquil environment to relax during breaks. 

With no Percy Throwers or Alan Titchmarshs in the group, the firefighters sought the help of Bruce Liddle of Newbury Farm Plant in Silsoe who not only gave advice on the design of the garden but also supplied the plants for free.

Mike King, one of the firefighters working as an ambulance driver at EEAST, said: “The fire team have really enjoyed working alongside such a passionate and dedicated group of people during the pandemic.

“They have made us feel so welcome and we thought the best way to say thank you was to leave a lasting memory by building the memorial garden — something they have been trying to get enough funds together to build for some time.

“We wanted to ensure that it was just right, knowing full well how important it is to them, and I am glad it has been so well received.”

Simon King, head of operations at EEAST for Milton Keynes, Bedford and Luton, says the whole of the team have been bowled over by the gesture.

“I would like to thank the firefighters for this phenomenal gift which has been so appreciated by everyone in the team,” he said.

“The way the firefighters have fitted into the teams right across Bedfordshire has been remarkable and both services are looking to build on this collaborative spirit and camaraderie. There are already a number of projects we are working on together to benefit patients.

“The garden itself is magnificent and is a fitting tribute to our much-missed colleagues.”

Durabook Is Empowering Crews Like You on the Ambulance

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It’s no secret that ambulance crews rely heavily on technology to support their daily work lives. More and more, they are turning towards rugged, stronger devices in order to withstand the often harsh environments which they operate in.

Durabook has been manufacturing mobile rugged devices which deliver the functionality needed to improve patient care for over 30 years. Its military-grade technology has been highly praised by users, as the deep functionality and high performance make operational use effortlessly fluid and simple all at once, a key benefit for ambulance crews.

With that in mind, the company has released the new and exciting U11I tablet, specifically designed for use in the harsh and unforgiving environments which ambulance and other emergency service crews often encounter. 

The U11I helps ambulance crews access electronic patient records, transfer patient-specific information to the hospital before arrival, and make critical decisions, all at lightning speed.

It’s also unique in that it is the only rugged tablet available today which allows you to add a second smart card and RFID reader alongside the one which is already embedded within the device itself, making it incredibly multifunctional.

These unique adaptations allow for secure user authentication and the safe collection and transfer of sensitive data; both absolutely essential features for quickly accessing historical patient information, recording diagnoses, and securely sending data to the hospital or other health organisations before arrival so care and treatment can continue without delay.

The benefits of using rugged devices, as opposed to more old-fashioned methods, cannot be underestimated.

One major bugbear of the past has been as simple a matter as illegible handwriting, which can cause great confusion following handovers—now thankfully a thing of the past, where it belongs.

And that’s also not to mention the seamless transference of records which can now be easily accessed through such technology and then safely secured and protected.

Another simple, yet amazingly useful, pro which the use of rugged tablets had introduced into the field is the ability to take photos of the patient’s injuries and the surrounding scene.

Context is, after all, not to be underestimated and who can deny the benefits of being able to visually picture the extent of the wounds to a trauma victim, for instance, ahead of their arrival? It definitely helps for preparation and handover at the hospital, that’s for sure.

Durabook also provides a cleaning guide with the U11I for simple, fast decontamination of the device following use on a call, saving both time and effort in ensuring that the device is properly cleaned and sanitised.

It will, after all, come into contact with vinyl gloves, blood, mud, and all manner of the harmful bacteria, germs and viruses that you can commonly expect to encounter on a call.

Looking beyond the sleek and professional design and examining the insides of the U11I, you’re left quite impressed with its overall power and capability. For starter’s, it’s the very first rugged tablet on the market to feature Intel’s 10th generation Intel® Core™ processor, improving performance by up to 260% on the previous model.

We all know how furiously frustrating an unresponsive, slow piece of kit can be, especially when you’re in a rush, and the ramped-up processing power means speedier, seamless action during use on those fast-paced, seemingly never-ending shifts. It’s the lifesaver’s lifesaver.

Furthermore, the amazingly lightweight device really proves its rugged nature, withstanding low and high temperatures in either extreme, shocks, vibrations, and surviving what would otherwise be devastating drops of up to six feet completely intact.

That cuts down massively on the usual cost of repair and replacement for things like cracked screens and delicate devices that have broken altogether.

The built-in battery easily lasts an entire shift with a life of up to 13.5 hours, or  up to 24 hours with a hi-cap option; so you can be sure it’s not going to cut out or die on you halfway through a patient report or when sending information.

Meanwhile, a hot-swappable battery allows an uninterrupted five minutes of power between swaps for zero downtime.

The 11.6” Full High Definition display also comes with four touch modes — finger touch, glove, rain/water, and stylus; this allows it to operate perfectly in the rain, remaining completely responsive no matter what the weather or what you’re wearing on your hands.

In the other extreme, Durabook’s DynaVue® sunlight readable technology eliminates reflection and delivers clarity when crews operate in bright outdoor environments, even in direct sunlight. They really have thought of everything here.

CEO of Durabook’s parent company Twinhead, Fred Kao said: “At Durabook, we design devices in line with the demanding and evolving needs of customers who rely on rugged technology to streamline workflows and improve productivity.’

“The new U11I tablet delivers secure and fast data processing, and extensive customisation capabilities that ensure devices can support the every need of ambulance, emergency services and public safety organisations.”

As with all Durabook rugged devices, the U11I can be customised easily to meet different requirements in different work environments, meaning it can fully adapt to your needs as your environments change over time.

Such customisations include integration with pre-existing systems or supporting proprietary software, and the device is also amply future-proofed to support upcoming technologies as they arise.

All-in-all, we’d give this product a 10/10 based on the specs and its overall features, but we’d love to hear what you think too.

Visit www.durabook.com, or contact sales@durabook.com to find out how Durabook can support your ambulance service.

Airbox Systems Launch Free ResilienceDirect Mapping Platform With Cabinet Office

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The Civil Contingencies Secretariat and Airbox Systems Limited have today launched an all-new ResilienceDirect mapping platform.

The tool provides a single codified place for emergency responders to come together to plan for and brief all types of resilience events across the UK.

It allows them to clearly visualise complex situations, giving a focal point and a single source of truth to allow fast, safe, coordinated planning and response.

Free at the point of use, the new service, went live at 7am this morning, replaces the previous mapping tool. It is free at the point of use and available to all UK category 1 and 2 responders.

Nearly two years in the making, the mapping has been reimagined from the ground up; employing current best practice around ease of use, compatibility with modern devices and incorporating many new features requested by the community.

The end solution will provide the emergency services with a tool which better serves their needs today and is scalable and extensible to tackle future scenarios.

Luana Avagliano,
Head of ResilienceDirect

Luana Avagliano, Head of ResilienceDirect, said: “This is an incredibly exciting and monumental day, as ever the needs of the user drive our ResilienceDirect mapping capability.’

“It is imperative that in this ever-challenging and changing world, we stay up to date and embrace emerging technologies.’

“The ambition to continue to provide the best possible tools for our Resilience Community and to support their mission to Save Lives and Keep the UK Safe.”

William Moore, CEO of Airbox Systems, added: “There is no better place to create contingency plans and to brief incidents.’

William Moore, CEO,
Airbox Systems

“The platform allows users to draw from an incredible range of government supplied, authoritative data and mapping.”

The standard functionality includes access to a range of very high quality mapping, overlays and data feeds produced by UK national agencies such as the Met Office, Health and Safety Executive and Environment Agency.

It also includes annotation tools to add information to the maps and also tools to interrogate information such as the ability to view and export addresses within given areas.

The overall package provides access to the best planning data available in the UK and combines it with tools to allow specific contingencies to be planned and shared.

Examples of new functionality being released today include:

  • Grids: Grids can be created and added to the map. This is useful for many types of contingency plans, but also means that, in seconds, responders can create and share search grids for finding missing people.
  • What3Words Integration: What3Words has become the location sharing method of choice between the emergency services and the general public and is also widely used for sharing location among responders. The new platform gives instant access to W3W references both from the map and in search.
  • Markers: The new platform expands on the types of markers available to allow richer mapping content. This has been achieved without compromising core Joint Emergency Services Principles (JESIP) and increases the versatility of the types of map which can be created.

In addition, in a world first for an emergency planning system, the platform incorporates surface water flood nowcasting. This capability, introduced in collaboration with Professor Dapeng Yu at Loughborough University, allows responders to understand which access routes may be affected by surface water during high rainfall events.

This will allow the emergency services to gain greater insight into the best routes during flooding, saving vital time in response. The service is currently experimental and covers London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leicester.

Category 1 and 2 responders who wish to apply for a ResilienceDirect account can do so by writing to support@resilience.gov.uk

Further enquiries should be directed to Media@AirboxSystems.com

In the back of an ambulance, two paramedics tend to a patient who has recently experienced a miscarriage

The Miscarriage Association Launches New E-learning Resource for Medical Professionals

View the Free E-Learning Course Here: Bit.ly/2Gtniu9

Published in Ambulance Today, Issue 3, Volume 13, Ahead of the Curve, Education and Technology Special, Autumn 2019

Dealing with the trauma of a miscarriage is something one can only imagine without having experienced it themselves. Non-profit charity, the Miscarriage Association, explains how they are currently supporting medical professionals in providing care and understanding to women going through that very trauma, through the use of a fantastic new, completely free to use, e-learning resource.

Founded in 1982, the Miscarriage Association is a UK-wide charity that offers support and information to anyone affected by miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancy.

Along with a staffed helpline, the Miscarriage Association have developed a new e-learning resource to support medical professionals in providing the best possible care to women experiencing pregnancy loss.

The resource is based on the real experiences of health professionals and those who have experienced miscarriage, ectopic or molar pregnancy, and also includes a cache of films and interactive activities.

“Not being able to answer their questions is very difficult and makes me feel like I’m inadequate in my job, when in fact I’ve just not had adequate training.”

Taking only around two hours to complete, the new resource is an excellent tool for continuing professional development and learning towards revalidation.

Ruth Bender Atik, National Director at the Miscarriage Association, said: “Pregnancy loss can be a deeply distressing experience and the support health professionals give can make all the difference to helping women through this difficult time.

“We know it isn’t always easy for those working in clinical environments to find the time to reflect on the care they provide. This is why we wanted to create a resource that they can dip in and out of and access easily from their phone, iPad or computer, so the training is available to them anytime.”

The five units focus upon different aspects of care, such as having difficult conversations, considering language, and taking care of your own wellbeing while providing that care.

“I was on my own at home. I couldn’t walk, I was on the floor so I had to call an ambulance. The paramedics were wonderful. They called my husband, asked if there was anyone else I needed contacting. They locked my house. They made sure that just the basic little things that really mattered were done and dealt with. And they gave me some gas and air, which I needed.”

Having experienced two miscarriages herself, Cerian Gingell is passionate about improving the care that is provided to those who experience pregnancy loss.

Cerian, said: “Miscarriage is a devastating loss, often without explanation. Nothing can take the
pain away, but a kind word, the correct information on what to expect next, the truth about what’s happening – these things can all help make a horrible experience slightly less horrible.

“To me, good care is saying ‘I’m sorry your baby’s gone, it wasn’t your fault’. It’s letting me cry, answering my questions with honesty and sensitivity, reassuring me that because it’s happened once it doesn’t mean it’ll happen again. It’s about respect, sympathy and honesty.

“I think this resource is so important and will help create more consistent care across the country. Every single person that goes through pregnancy loss deserves to be treated with dignity and compassion. Whether they’re speaking to their GP or being treated in hospital, every contact can have a huge impact on the way that person copes with their loss.”

The new e-learning resource was peer reviewed and produced with the help of Janet Birrell, Gynaecology Matron at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Nicola Davies, GP at The Pinn Medical Centre, Annmaria Ellard, Miscarriage Specialist Nurse at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust, Amanda Mansfield, Consultant Midwife at London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, and the Association of Early Pregnancy Units.

Dr. Sarah Bailey, Lead Nurse Recurrent Miscarriage Care and Clinical Research Specialist at University Hospitals Southampton, said: “The Miscarriage Association’s e-learning resource is extremely useful, informative and easily accessible.

“I would thoroughly recommend this excellent training package to any care professional who is involved in caring for women with miscarriage.”

The Miscarriage Association’s staffed helpline and online resources help thousands of people every year to get through the emotional and physical distress of pregnancy loss and, in many cases, to manage the anxiety of pregnancy after loss. They work with health professionals to promote good practice in medical care, support clinical research and strive to raise public awareness of the facts and feelings of pregnancy loss.

You can visit www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk or call the Miscarriage Association on +44 1924 200 795 to find out more. For more details and interview opportunities please contact Ruth Bender Atik, National Director at the Miscarriage Association: ruth@miscarriageassociation.org.uk

You can access the e-learning resource at: Bit.ly/2Gtniu9