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Nausea confusion leads to pregnant filling ambulances

Tuesday December 18th, 2018

Confusion about how to manage nausea in pregnancy leads to many pregnant women being sent to hospital in emergency ambulances, according to a study published today.

So-called morning sickness is the most common complication of pregnancy and, according to the analysis, it costs £60 million a year.

Researchers at Warwick University studied the care of women with the problem in eight practices and obtained other data for the north-east of England.

They found that if a woman dialled 111 or 999 there was a 44% chance an emergency ambulance would be dispatched. This amounted to some 64,000 trips in the north-east of England in a year.

The researchers say that only a “tiny” proportion of these would progress to the most serious form of the condition, hyperemesis gravidarum.

Researcher Professor Roger Gadsby said: “The main message is that nausea and vomiting in pregnancy costs the NHS more than has been realised in the past.

“Our paper shows that there is wide variation in the management at general practice level. National guidelines on the management of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy were launched in 2016 and the first medication licensed to be used in pregnancy for treating nausea and vomiting has recently been launched. Reducing variation and improving management in the community would be a great benefit to women suffering from this underappreciated condition.

“Such variation could be reduced by better advice and appropriate prescribing from healthcare professionals. This could reduce ambulance callouts and hospital admissions so reducing the cost burden to the NHS.”

He added: “This research demonstrates that cost savings and improvement in management are possible. It needs to be widely disseminated and understood in general practice to drive improvement in the management of the condition.”

Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and resource implications: the NVP Impact Study BJGP 18 December 2018

https://bjgp.org/content/early/2018/12/14/bjgp18X700745

Tags: A&E | Childbirth and Pregnancy | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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