Infant Mortality

Current programmes and pathways

The Healthy Child Programme 0-5 years

The HCP is the government’s early intervention and prevention public health programme which offers every family a programme of screening tests, immunisations, developmental reviews, and information and guidance to support parenting and healthy choices (1).

Through the HCP, Midwives Health Visitors, Children’s Centre staff and practice staff all have a key role in ensuring that parents are screened for congenital conditions, smoking and excess weight and are given advice about safe sleeping and infant safetyxii

Health Visiting Services are divided into Community, Universal, Universal Plus and Universal Partnership Plus, offering an increasing amount of support and intervention at each level. Evidence shows that there are key times to ensure that parents are supported to give their child the best start in life, and to identify early those families who need extra help through early interventions. These key times correspond to specific elements of The 0-5 HCP which are delivered by Health Visitors as part of ongoing relationships with families and communities.

The Central Bedfordshire pathway to support parents who are under 20 years of age also provides support for teenage parents ensuring they receive advice and care.


Nationally, Acute Trusts follow the NICE smoking in pregnancy referral pathway, however in Bedfordshire it has been strengthened to include brief intervention and routine screening of carbon monoxide.

Smokefree Baby and Me is a programme designed for pregnant smokers and their partners to access support to stopping smoking through pregnancy and postnatally. After the successful pilot launched in Central Bedfordshire the programme is now in Bedford Borough resulting in the same level of care and support for women and their families being offered.

In 2015-16, a total of 240 referrals were made to the Stop Smoking Service with 55% accepting an appointment, 15% declined and 30% of referrals being unable to contact the service. The four week quit rate was 31%.

Referrals were received from Midwives, Health Visitors, GP’s and the Family Nurse Partnership Trust.

Routine carbon monoxide screening in every first appointment with a midwife will highlight more smokers who can be referred to specialist services and is the model of care being used in Central Bedfordshire within pregnancy.

Excess weight

Excess weight indicators in pregnancy are a priority to reduce the negative health impact for both woman and baby, so much so that it is on the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Sustainability and Transformation Plan for improvement.

In September 2015 BeeZee Bodies was commissioned to develop and facilitate an antenatal and postnatal programme directly for pregnant women called BZ Bumps.

BZ Bumps is designed to provide group support discussing healthy food choices, how to maintain their current weight and examples of physical activity. The programme is for women who have a BMI of over 30 and lasts 8 weeks antenatally, once the baby has arrived a further 8 weeks of support is offered.

BZ Bumps is offered to all Central Bedfordshire women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or over irrespective of which maternity hospital (Luton and Dunstable Hospital or Bedford Hospital) they choose to have their baby delivered at. The Nutrition and Dietetics Services in Luton and Bedford work in collaboration with Midwives to provide a robust transition of care.

Please refer to Maternal Obesity and Smoking at the Time of Delivery JSNA chapters for further information.

Commissioned services for young parents

Since teenage pregnancy is a risk factor for increased infant mortality, CSUK and Brook offer programmes to increase self esteem and aspirations of young people in the Central Bedfordshire who are at risk of teenage pregnancy.  Aspire and ‘My Life’ programmes run across Central Bedfordshire.



(1) Department of Health 2009 Healthy Child Programme; Pregnancy and the first five years of life. London. HM Government.


Last updated Tuesday, 17th January 2017