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Issue Date:- 17 February 2009
PCTs fall short on baby hip examinations
charity STEPS has revealed an alarming number of Primary Care Trusts
(PCTs) in England have no formal policy in place for infant hip
examinations. The charity provides support and information for
all lower limb conditions in children and young adults. On 24
February, during Baby Hip Health Awareness Week, STEPS supporter
Dave Anderson MP will table a cross-party Early Day Motion in the
Commons to urge government action to overcome shortcomings.
Research carried out by STEPS asked Acute Trusts and PCTs in England
to submit existing guidelines and formal policy on baby hip checks.
Of those who responded, it was revealed 57% of PCTs and 10% of Acute
Trusts have no formal policy in place, despite a national screening
policy being introduced in the UK in 1969.
The aim of the screening programme is to identify and treat infants
with a hip abnormality at an early stage, with a post-birth hospital
check and again at 6 to 8 weeks. Up to 2000 children a year
are diagnosed with development dysplasia of the hip (DDH) which
requires treatment involving splints and plaster body casts. Late
diagnosis can lead to complex surgery and lifelong problems, often
impacting on psychological development.
STEPS also conducted a survey of parents with children affected by
lower limb conditions. While many praised the care received during
treatment for DDH, the majority of parents felt they weren't
informed about the condition and it wasn't clearly explained to
Theresa Quinn from Haywards Heath in West Sussex has a daughter,
Harriet, who was diagnosed with DDH aged 10 months:- "A health visitor came to check on Harriet, who was developing
very quickly and gave us no cause for concern. She noticed, on
further examination, when Harriet put both legs together lying down,
her right leg appeared to be half a centimetre shorter.
When she suggested we should visit our GP it sent me into a blind
panic - I felt like I'd failed my daughter in not finding it sooner.
My GP didn't even touch Harriet during the check and was extremely
After months of waiting and chasing the GP for diagnosis, Harriet
was admitted for treatment in hospital and had her 2nd spica cast on
11 December. We will be going back to hospital again this month to
review her case. It really is a waiting game and an emotional
rollercoaster. We can't fault the care Harriet has received in
hospital but I can't believe there is such a lack of information out
there for parents."
Radio presenter, Sara Cox, is getting behind the cause and was
personally affected by DDH as a young child:- "I obviously
can't remember the trips to hospital, the corrective cast I had to
wear or my parents telling my siblings I was a special baby. I'm
sure my parents would've been grateful for an organisation like
STEPS. I think it's really important families have information
to hand and a good support network to help them through what can be
a very emotional experience. Organisations like STEPS are invaluable
and offer advice, a friendly ear and access to people in the same
situation who understand exactly what you're going through."
Dave Anderson, MP for Blaydon, said:- "I am very proud to
support the important work of the STEPS charity and to highlight it
in Parliament. I am impressed by their work in showing that the
national screening programme needs to be backed by proper procedures
and policies which can then prevent needless suffering as well as
spending. I hope that the Minister will meet STEPS to see how
current shortcomings in the screening programme can be overcome."
Sue Banton, founder and director of STEPS, added:- "Our
research highlights a staggering gap in health policy which, if
correctly followed, could detect lower limb conditions at an early
age and save both parents and children from years of pain and
emotional distress. It's frightening so many PCTs are refusing
to take responsibility for checking babies' hips, leaving it to GPs
and creating massive inconsistency in procedure."
Andreas Roposch, orthopaedic surgeon and epidemiologist at Great
Ormond Street Hospital, said:- "The failure to diagnose hip
dysplasia in a timely manner is very disconcerting to families with
children affected but screening is a complex issue with mixed
results world-wide. Suffice it to say that the hips should be
checked in all newborns in routine examinations performed by
well-trained health professionals, especially in those with known
Specialist referral is essential in any uncertain
cases, and treatment should be commenced early on if needed!"
£6.4 million investment in Liverpool’s public transport network
public transport network is set to benefit from an investment of
over £6 million from the Northwest European Regional Development
The funding is being allocated for 6 projects, to be taken forward
by Merseytravel, which aim to improve the provision and
accessibility of public transport into the city centre. The projects
City Centre Underground Stations – This project has been
allocated £417,000 of ERDF funding to enhance the welcome,
attractiveness and accessibility of the gateway underground stations
to Liverpool city centre. The scheme involves the refurbishment of
the station’s entrances, new signage, and improving accessibility.
James Street Underground Station – This project, which will
receive an ERDF grant of £680,000, will enhance the gateway station
to Liverpool’s waterfront and the western areas of the city centre,
including Liverpool One. The scheme includes the creation of a new
station entrance/exit, the extension of the concourse area allowing
incorporation of extra automatic ticket gates, the introduction of a
landmark canopy outside the station entrance and new lighting and
In addition, 4 individual projects which will upgrade significant
bus corridors to improve access into the city centre have also been
approved. These include:
City Centre Bus Corridor (A59) (£1.4 million ERDF) –
Connecting Liverpool city centre with St Helens. It will create
improved transport routes in and around the city centre to connect
with the radial routes on the major corridors including Brownlow
Hill, Pembroke Place, London Road, Lime Street and Upper Parliament
Integrated Corridor B Gateway (A57) (£911,000 ERDF) –
Connecting Liverpool city centre and Bootle with Walton, Fazakerley,
Old Roan, Maghull and Kirkby.
Integrated Corridor D Gateway (A561) (£1.4 million ERDF) –
Connecting the city centre with Kensington, Old Swan, Dovecot, Page
Moss, Huyton, Prescot, Whiston, Rainhill, Widnes and St Helens.
Integrated Corridor F Gateway (£1.7 million ERDF) –
Connecting Liverpool city centre with Allerton, Aigburth, Speke and
Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
Work will include improving bus stops, creating new and upgraded bus
lanes, upgrading traffic signals to enhance bus movements and
upgrading pedestrian crossings. The projects aim to reduce the
variability of bus journey times, make it easier for the local
community to access public transport and ensure that Liverpool’s bus
service provides a real alternative to car use.
Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of the NWDA, said:- “These
investments will significantly improve access into Liverpool city
centre and encourage greater use of public transport, which will
both help to ease congestion in the city centre and support the
Agency’s commitment to tackling the climate change agenda. Through
driving up the quality, accessibility and frequency of public
transport, I hope that these schemes will help to provide a real,
affordable and convenient alternative to car use for local
Councillor Mark Dowd, Chair of Merseytravel, said:- “Around
200 million journeys are made by bus or train every year on
Merseyside. Public transport is a vital part of people’s day to day
lives and we are constantly looking at ways to deliver better, more
reliable, more accessible facilities for them along with our
partners in the district councils. Improving our transport
network is also essential to the region’s economic success and
prosperity. Partnerships and investment are the cornerstone of
delivering this so I’m delighted that this money is being invested
The schemes are part of Merseyside’s Local Transport Plan, which
runs until 2011 and is a £230m delivery programme of transport
investment and service improvements. It aims to give
Merseyside a safer, sustainable, efficient and integrated transport
network, accessible to all.
A separate investment from the Northwest Regional Development Agency
(NWDA) will be allocated for the Liverpool Transport Model project,
which will receive £250,000 Agency funding to create a computer
based modelling facility that will enable the transport needs and
impact of new developments to be planned for. The creation of a
Liverpool Transport Model, which will be led by Liverpool City
Council and Liverpool Vision, will enable partners to undertake
detailed road network and junction simulation when planning new
developments, helping to reduce the potential impacts on congestion
that new developments may create.
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