Expectant mums in Burnley could be given more ultrasound scans in future in a bid to reduce stillbirths.
Under the plans being considered by East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, which runs Burnley General and the Royal Blackburn Hospitals, the use of ultrasound scanning could be increased by up to 50%.
Although the Trust admitted it does not currently have the capacity for more scans, hospital chiefs are in talks with other organisations as to whether it would be cost effective.
The proposals are part of the national GROW programme, which aims to reduce stillbirths by identifying intrauterine growth retardation. The condition, where the baby’s growth slows or stops while it is in the womb, is now recognised as a significant cause for stillbirth.
The Trust will try and lower the number of stillbirths by training Trust staff in measuring fetal growth using growth charts and recognising risk factors for poor growth in the womb.
Hospital bosses are also exploring a new scan training system that would allow them to implement GROW by teaching clinicians to do growth scans during clinic appointments instead of relying on ultra-sonographers.
Chief nurse Christine Pearson said in a report for the Trust board: “This would, however, need capital investment and more work is required before progressing further.”