The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has announced £1.8 million in funding last week to support the safe rollout of new technology designed to reduce stillbirths and premature births to be trialed in the NHS, as campaigned for by local MP Alicia Kearns.
The Tommy’s App is a Clinical Decision Support Tool developed by Tommy’s National Centre for Maternity Improvement team which uses advanced technology to accurately assess each woman’s chance of having a premature birth or of developing complications with the placenta that can lead to stillbirth. Early identification enables healthcare professionals to offer the right care at the right time to lessen the chance of these potentially devastating outcomes.
From the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy and during specific appointments, this clinical decision support tool enables healthcare professionals to access the right information at the right time, and to support women in making informed decisions about their personalised care. Pregnant women also benefit from having their own profile on the tool and so are able to access and carry their own care information with them wherever they go, engaging in their own maternity care.
The trial is being funded through the National Institute for Health and Care Research. It will be co-led by Professor Andy Judge and Associate Professor Christy Burden at the University of Bristol and is expected to start in Summer 2023. The trial will run across 26 NHS maternity units, involving approximately 39,000 women each year.
Alicia Kearns MP, Member of Parliament for Rutland and Melton said:
“This trial represents a hugely exciting step forward for maternity care and women across the UK. The way in which pregnancies are determined to be low or high risk has not significantly changed for many years, and I am delighted that the team at Tommy’s National Centre for Maternity Improvement have received the funding they deserve. No mother should ever have to go through the heartbreak of losing a child and I am pleased that the Government has awarded the Tommy’s App this funding to work towards reducing the number of stillborn and premature babies each year. I look forward to seeing the rollout of this technology in the upcoming trials as our health system progresses towards offering a more tailored approach to care for pregnant women.”