Our Pulse Oximetry Project is up and running again…

We’re delighted that we have been able to start placing pulse oximetry machines in maternity wards across the UK once again. These monitors, which can help detect serious heart conditions soon after birth, are used to help improve early detection rates of congenital heart disease.

Unfortunately, earlier this year we had to pause three of our key projects due to Government guidelines and to enable NHS hospitals to focus on their critical role responding to the pandemic. Our face-to-face sonographer training is still suspended for the foreseeable future, as is our project placing situs dolls in NHS Trusts. However we are delighted to announce that we are now pressing GO on placing more pulse oximetry machines in maternity units across the UK.

Before lockdown, with the support of Simon & Hayley Hills, we placed pulse oximetry machines at Broomfield Hospital in memory of their son Marshall. Marshall was born with a CHD which went undetected during Hayley’s pregnancy, and tragically their son passed away soon after birth.

Left to right: Jon Arnold, Tiny Tickers Chief Executive; midwives from the Broomfield Hospital Maternity unit, and far right, Simon & Hayley Hills

Thanks to Simon & Hayley’s donation we placed six handheld machines on the Broomfield Maternity Unit. This will help ensure that all newborns born in Broomfield Hospital get the test that could save their life.

A baby is born with a serious heart condition every two hours in the UK. However, not all congenital heart defects can be detected during routine prenatal scanning and some babies are at risk of falling into the early stage of heart failure if their condition is not diagnosed in time. As the only national charity dedicated to improving the early detection, diagnosis and care of babies with heart conditions, we want to change this. We are delighted that with the generosity of supporters and funders, like Edith Florence Spencer Memorial Trust, Next PLC, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, DM Thomas Foundation for Young People, Spifox Too and the GC Gibson Charitable Trust, that we can continue to ensure these vital machines benefit the babies & families that need them most.

We launched our Pulse Oximetry project in 2017, and in 2018 we launched our national appeal, Test for Tommy, as part of our mission to ensure that no baby will die from an undiagnosed congenital heart defect.

Natasha Pye’s son, Tommy, was one of the 1000 newborn babies who leaves hospital every year with their heart defects undetected. Tommy tragically passed away at 11 days old and we have dedicated this campaign to his memory. 

“We now know that Tommy had a congenital heart defect that could be corrected with surgery. If only his condition had been detected, he could be alive today.”

Natasha, Tommy’s Mum
  • Giving Tuesday

Our Test for Tommy campaign is dedicated to the memory of baby Tommy and aims to ensure that every baby is given the test that could help save their life. A pulse oximetry test measures the oxygen saturation levels in a baby’s blood. It is quick, painless and a low reading could indicate a heart defect.

At present, pulse oximetry testing is not a mandatory newborn test within NHS hospitals, and many maternity units perceive cost as a barrier to introducing the test. This is why we are determined to place pulse oximetry testing kits in maternity units across the UK. Our ambition is that we will have offered machines to every NHS Trust in the UK by April 2022.

Thank you to each and everyone of our supporters who have helped us with this project. We’re excited to get started again…