Welcome Additions to New Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle

Welcome Additions to New Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle: Professionals must be supported in its implementation.


Find out how to book your place on our ‘Implementing Saving Babies’ Lives’ course. 

The latest MBRRACE surveillance report showed that there remains a significant regional variation in the number of babies who are stillborn or die in the first month of life in the UK [1] – demonstrating a need for standardisation to best practice in order to save babies’ lives.

In 2014, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced the Maternity Safety Ambition: to halve the rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths, and brain injuries that occur during or soon after birth. The government now hope to achieve this target by 2025, as announced in The Department of Health’s Safer Maternity Care report [2].

In 2016, as part of the ambition to reduce the rates of stillbirth, NHS England released the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle [3], which contained evidenced-based recommendations to prevent stillbirths. An evaluation of the impact of the bundle has shown that in 19 trusts where work was done to implement these recommendations, rates of stillbirth fell by 20% [4].

In light of this evaluation the Baby LifelineImplementing Saving Babies’ Lives’ course has evolved and is the most current course on the subject.


The Extended Bundle

Today, this care bundle has been expanded in line with the latest evidence, and to reflect the updated government ambition to reduce the number of babies who are born preterm. This new care bundle is called, Saving Babies’ Lives Version Two: A care bundle for reducing perinatal mortality (SBLCBv2) [5].

The updated guidance directly responds to the results of the evaluation of the bundle’s impact in early-adopter trusts. The expanded bundle attempts to maximise the positive impact of the care bundle whilst avoiding unnecessary interventions by providing guidance on identifying and focusing care on mothers and babies most at risk and weighing-up the risks and benefits of early delivery. It also includes a welcome focus on continuous improvement [5].

In addition to updates of the first 4 bundle elements, the extended bundle now adds guidance for healthcare professionals on how to both reduce the numbers of babies who are born preterm and ensure the best outcome where preterm birth cannot be avoided [5]. Preterm birth is on the increase both nationally and globally; in the UK, preterm birth is the single highest cause of neonatal mortality and morbidity and our preterm birth rate is higher than many of our European neighbours [6,7].

The bundle tackles it in three stages: prediction of mothers and babies most at risk of preterm birth, prevention of preterm birth through evidenced based intervention, and adequate preparation when preterm birth is unavoidable despite this support, to ensure the best outcome possible.


The Need for Training

The independent evaluation of the impact of the bundle recommended that “training needs to be provided to ensure that professionals providing maternity care are aware of the goals and elements of the SBLCB” [4].  In November 2018, Baby Lifeline released its latest Mind the Gap report [8], which investigated the provision of ongoing training to maternity staff throughout the UK, over the 2017/18 financial year; during this time, less than 10% of NHS trusts in England were providing all the staff training necessary to fully implement the Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle.

In 2019, NHS England released the NHS Long Term Plan [9], which includes much needed plans to support every maternity unit in the country to implement the life-saving interventions of the care bundle. We are excited to help to facilitate this implementation through training.


What Are We Doing to Help?

Baby Lifeline’s training anticipates and directly responds to reports and recommendations for improving maternity care; our Implementing Saving Babies’ Lives Training Programme is one example of this. This ‘cutting-edge’ training package directly responds to the current government aims for maternity care, and the recommendations contained in Saving Babies’ Lives.

This package of training has been developed, and is delivered, by frontline clinical experts who devote their working lives to caring for babies who are at risk of being stillborn, born preterm or born very small, and to caring for families who have had a baby who has been premature or stillborn. These experts are actively involved both in caring for these babies and their families, and in conducting research with the aim of improving care and preventing more of these outcomes in the future.

Our course directors, Professor Alex Heazell, Mr Nigel Simpson and Dr Ed Johnstone were also lead contributors in the development of Saving Babies’ Lives Version Two.

You can find out more information about this ground-breaking course on the course page.

The courses have very limited spaces and offer practical training from nationally recognised experts in a small-group setting with the opportunity for one-to-one instruction.


Implementing Saving Babies’ Lives

This one-day course is available to any healthcare professional who is involved or interested in the care of women and babies during pregnancy and birth.

The course focuses on identification and appropriate care of babies who are at risk of preterm birth, fetal growth restriction, and stillbirth – both before and at the time of delivery.  This course discusses the most up-to-date research on interventions to ensure the best outcomes possible for these mothers and their babies. It also discusses nest practice in supporting families who have had a stillborn child, both immediately and in the long term, including during subsequent pregnancies.

Read More

Implementing Saving Babies’ Lives: Ultrasound Practical Day

This one-day practical course shares the aims of Implementing Saving Babies’ Lives, but focuses on providing hands-on practice and instruction for professionals who are involved or interested in the use of ultrasound in the prediction and prevention of preterm birth, growth restriction and stillbirth.

This course has very limited spaces and offers practical training from nationally recognised experts in a small-group setting with the opportunity for one-to-one instruction.

Read More


[1] Draper, E., Gallimore, I., Kurinczuk, J., Smith, P., Boby, T., Smith, L. and Manktelow, B. on behalf of the MBRRACE-UK Collaboration. (2018) MBRRACE-UK Perinatal Mortality Surveillance Report, UK Perinatal Deaths for Births from January to December 2016: Summary Report. Leicester: The Infant Mortality and Morbidity Studies, Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester.

[2] Maternity Safety Programme Team, Department of Health. (2017). Safer Maternity Care. Retrieved 14th March 2019, from https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/662969/Safer_maternity_care_-_progress_and_next_steps.pdf

[3] O’Connor, D. (2016). Saving Babies’ Lives: A care bundle for reducing stillbirths. Retrieved 21 March, 2016, from https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/saving-babies-lives-carbundl.pdf.

[4] Widdows, K., Roberts, S., Camacho, E. and Heazell, A. (2018). Evaluation of the implementation of the Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle in early adopter NHS Trusts in England. Manchester: Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, University of Manchester.

[5] NHS England. (2019). Saving Babies’ Lives Version Two: A Care Bundle for Reducing Perinatal Mortality. Retrieved15 March 2019, from https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Saving-Babies-Lives-Care-Bundle-Version-Two-Final-Version2.pdf

[6] World Health Organisation. 2018. Global Preterm Birth Estimates. Retrieved 14th March 2019, from http://ptb.srhr.org/

[7] National Institute of Health and Care Excellence. (2015). Preterm labour and birth NICE guideline [NG25].  Retrieved 14th March 2019, from https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng25/resources/preterm-labour-and-birth-pdf-1837333576645

[8] Ledger, S., Hindle, G. and Smith, T. (2018). Mind the Gap, An Investigation into Maternity Training for Frontline Professionals Across the UK (2017/18). Retrieved 14th March 2019, from http://babylifeline.org.uk/home/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Mind-the-Gap-2018-Investigation-into-Maternity-Training-Final-ELECTRONIC-VERSION-Final-v2.pdf

[9] NHS England. (2019). The NHS Long Term Plan. Retrieved 14th March 2019, from https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/nhs-long-term-plan.pdf

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.