AN EDINBURGH doctor has taken on a gruelling cycling challenge in support of a charity working to prevent avoidable baby deaths.
Rhona Hughes, a consultant obstetrician at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, jumped on her bike to race the Prudential RideLondon and help raise funds for Each Baby Counts – a national clinical improvement programme that aims to reduce the number of babies who die or are left severely disabled as a result of incidents during labour.
Dr Hughes, who is also an RCOG Council member, joined a team of 17 College members, staff and their family and friends on the ride from Surrey to London on July 30.
It marks the fourth year the RCOG has fielded a team for the event, with the group raising £7500 for Each Baby Counts.
Dr Hughes revealed she is extremely passionate about the charity and hoped then money would help families struggling with avoidable death.
She said: “I have been an obstetrician since 1984 and have spent my whole career doing everything I can to make childbirth a safe and happy experience for women and their babies.”
“The Each Baby Counts programme is very close to my heart as I have seen first-hand the effect a baby’s death in labour, or the birth of a baby with severe disabilities due to labour complications, has on a family.
“These events are devastating and reinforce the urgent need to investigate how these tragic incidents can be best avoided by driving forward clinical improvements.
“As is clearly evident in our latest report, this project needs as much funding as possible to ensure its success.”
The latest RCOG report, published last month, analysed the care of 1136 babies born in the UK in 2015 who were stillborn, died within the first seven days after birth, or suffered a severe brain injury.
It found that 76 per cent of these babies might have had a different outcome with different care, and identified key clinical actions needed to improve the quality of care and prevent future cases.
Professor Lesley Regan, President of the RCOG, said: “It is a profound tragedy whenever a death, disability or illness of a baby results from incidents during labour.”
The emotional cost to each family is incalculable and we owe it to them to properly investigate what happened and ensure the individuals and the healthcare Trusts involved take the steps needed to avoid making the same mistakes again.
“The Each Baby Counts programme couldn’t operate without the support of our fundraisers. I am incredibly proud of our members, staff and their family and friends who took part in RideLondon last month.”
Team RCOG are still accepting donations on their online fundraising page.