A study of baby deaths aimed at improving emergency treatment at Queen’s and King George Hospitals has led to national recognition for the nurses and midwives who work there.

Maternity department staff have been shortlisted for September's Health Service Journal Patient Safety Awards for improving treatment by “learning from baby deaths” to identify signs and trends and taking immediate action.

It follows a joint study in the wake of the Covid pandemic, carried out by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust’s maternity quality team with the safety and bereavement team.

The shortlist cites their “improvements to reduce health inequalities” by studying infant death rates over long periods.

The medical staff can now identify signs and trends among women slipping through the net who are not on the hospitals’ database. They are able to take immediate action to improve maternity care for these women.

Staff changed the booking process after nurses found patients turning up needing maternity care who had not previously booked into hospital. They now build up enough medical information to avoid delays in referrals and assessments to make sure pregnant women who were not yet registered are booked in and scanned within 72 hours.

BHRUT has also been shortlisted for a second award for its two children’s emergency departments for improving early detection for youngsters with diabetes.

This follows staff noticing a large increase in numbers coming to hospital with new onset diabetes during the Covid pandemic.

“Differentiating these youngsters from other sick children is not always easy,” the children’s emergency department’s clinical lead Caroline Ponmani said.

“Diabetic Ketoacidosis and new onset diabetes can manifest like other medical conditions.

“What we did during the pandemic was raise awareness across the board in children’s emergency departments generally.”

A general alert was raised and measures put in place for early identification of diabetes.

The two hospitals, in Romford and Goodmayes, also led a national study involving 49 NHS trusts up and down the country that has enabled resources to be developed to help families improve the care and support for children with diabetes.