New antenatal Rainbow Clinic launched at The Royal Oldham Hospital

The Rainbow Clinic Team at The Royal Oldham Hospital: (L-R) Tracy Butler, Katie Bowker and Dr Annabel Dieh

A new service has been launched at The Royal Oldham Hospital to provide extra support for mums and dads-to-be who have previously experienced stillbirth, late miscarriage or early neonatal death in a previous pregnancy.

The Rainbow Clinic is part of a national project to help support parents who have previously suffered this trauma, providing individualised care and additional scans to identify potential complications in the new term of labour.

Each day in the UK, 11 babies die before or shortly after birth, and 70% of these families will go on to have another pregnancy within a year. With the new pregnancies being more likely to end in stillbirth compared to other families, additional support and extra scans are very important.

Oldham’s Rainbow Clinic team will be led by Dr Annabel Dieh, Consultant Obstetrician, with link Midwife, Tracey Butler; supported by Katie Bowker, Antenatal Clinic Manager, and the rest of the antenatal clinic team. This dedicated team will work closely with families to improve their emotional and psychological wellbeing and provide specialist support during a period of anxiety for families who have previously experienced the loss of a child.

As well as specialist scans and diagnosis, the Rainbow Clinic team will provide additional psychological care and support to families who have already experienced loss, talking them through their worries and fears, and helping to them to cope with the anxieties which can accompany their new pregnancy.

Dr Annabel Dieh, Consultant Obstetrician at the new Rainbow Clinic said: “The loss of a child can be a devastating experience for parents. Families need specialist support and care to guide them through their pregnancy journey and help them prepare for the arrival of their baby. We know that Rainbow Clinics can have a real impact in reducing the tragedy of stillbirths and we’re looking forward to supporting and guiding our mums and dads-to-be through their pregnancy journey, and continuing the track record of success already enjoyed by existing Rainbow Clinics.”

The first Rainbow Clinic was set up at Saint Mary’s Hospital, part of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) in 2013. Since opening, it has cared for over 750 families and helped to reduce the stillbirth rate by 34%. Similar clinics have followed including those at Wythenshawe Hospital, which opened in 2016 and more recently at Stepping Hill in 2019. The new clinic in Oldham will be the fourth in the area.

The introduction of Rainbow Clinics across Greater Manchester has been supported by Health Innovation Manchester, the organisation responsible for accelerating proven innovation into Greater Manchester’s health and social care services.

Amanda Risino, Chief Operating Officer, Health Innovation Manchester, said: “The Rainbow Clinic is a fantastic example of our ability to take a concept that has been developed through research and translate it into practice to directly benefit Greater Manchester citizens. It is great to see Oldham come on board and ensure that more families can access this enhanced level of care.”

Photo: The Rainbow Clinic Team at The Royal Oldham Hospital: (L-R) Tracy Butler, Katie Bowker and Dr Annabel Dieh

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