Minister Varadkar visits Coombe

varadkar-coombe

Launch of Clinical Practice Guideline on Bacterial Infections Specific to Pregnancy

Practical guidance to improve the prevention and management of pregnancy-specific bacterial infections

2 April 2015: The Minister for Health, Dr Leo Varadkar TD, today welcomed the publication of the Clinical Practice Guideline  – Bacterial Infections Specific to Pregnancy at the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital in Dublin.

The guideline, which is intended for healthcare professionals, particularly those in training, who are working in HSE-funded hospitals and primary care, was developed under the auspices of the National Clinical Programme in Obstetrics and Gynaecology led by Professor Michael Turner and his team. The guideline has been endorsed by the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and by the HSE.

Concern about maternal death due to sepsis has re-emerged in developed countries. In Ireland too, there have been concerns about individual maternal deaths.  In order to help prevent sepsis in the maternity setting, the focus of the guideline is on the primary infection, specifically the prevention and management of pregnancy-specific bacterial infections.

Minister Varadkar said: “It’s important that Ireland has a maternity service in which women and their families can place their trust. That’s why it’s crucial to develop guidelines like the Clinical Practice Guideline on Bacterial Infections Specific to Pregnancy. This guideline was developed through the National Clinical Programme in Obstetrics and Gynaecology led by Professor Michael Turner, and endorsed by the Institute of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and by the HSE. One of my priorities in 2015 is to extend our suite of National Clinical Effectiveness Guidelines.  My Department has published the first six national guidelines which is a critical step to delivering consistent, safe, evidence-based care across the country.”

“Pregnancy, particularly around the time of delivery, is a time of vulnerability from infection for women because of physiological changes in the woman’s immune system and cardiovascular system. This guideline and the introduction of the Irish Maternity Early Warning (IMEWS) highlight the need for vigilance and early diagnosis in pregnant women with an infection. Maternal sepsis is uncommon in Ireland and we must continue to prioritise both prevention and effective treatment. This guideline is intended to support the clinical judgement of all staff responsible for the care of women and their babies during and immediately after pregnancy,” said Professor Michael Turner.

The guideline is one of a suite of over 30 guidelines that have been developed by the National Clinical Programme over the last five years to further improve the quality of maternity care in Ireland. The development of the guideline was one of the recommendations made in the HIQA investigation into the safety, quality and standards of services provided by the HSE to patients, including pregnant women, at risk of clinical deterioration, and in particular to address the need for new guidelines on infection and pregnancy.

The guideline serves as an introduction to a suite of clinical guidelines which addresses infection in pregnancy, and puts an emphasis on the prevention of pregnancy-specific bacterial infections in the first instance. Related guidelines targeting specific infections in pregnancy are under development and are due to be published later in 2015.