Clinicians in the classroom: The consultant anaesthetist
In 2013–14, 166 081 babies born in England—accounting for 26.2% of all births in the country—were born by caesarean section (
The midwife is the lead professional in low-risk maternity care and the coordinator of care in complex cases where a multi-professional approach is required (Power, 2016). Caesarean sections now account for more than a quarter of all births in England—166 081 (26.2%) births in 2013–14 (Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), 2015). In 2013–14, epidural or caudal anaesthesia was required in 16.4% (86 673) of births, mainly for instrumental births, while spinal anaesthetics were used in 15.1% (79 975) of births, mostly for caesarean sections (HSCIC, 2015). Support from obstetric anaesthesia services (OAS) is also required in obstetric emergencies, such as postpartum haemorrhage, which occurred in 13.8% of births in 2013–14, and eclampsia, which affects about 1/4000 pregnancies. Given the high rate of caesarean sections and the input of OAS in pain management in labour and the management of obstetric emergencies, educators at the University of Northampton have decided that it is good practice to provide student midwives with an opportunity to learn about the role of OAS—and, more specifically, the consultant anaesthetist—in the safe environment of the classroom.
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