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Mothers hail self-dispensing option

Equipment that allows women to administer their own pain relief during childbirth has been praised by mothers in Leicester.

Epidural pumps, costing £1,500 each, were introduced at the city’s maternity hospitals and have proved a big hit, say anaesthetists.

The system allows midwives to spend more time with women in labour as they no longer need to repeatedly check drugs out of the controlled drug cupboard with a colleague.

The user can simply work the pump by pushing a button, which releases the pain relief medicine.

Consultant anaesthetist Paul Sharpe said: “We knew, from our own audit, that women were having good pain relief from their epidural during labour, but when it came to giving birth the story could be quite different.

“For safety reasons it is often not appropriate for the midwife to leave the woman at this crucial time. This meant that the midwife could not get the pain-killing medicine from the central drug cupboard, resulting in pain at the time of delivering the baby.

“Since it was introduced we’ve had excellent feedback from the midwives and labouring women and it is now offered to patients as standard. As well as improved satisfaction, the system should reduce the chance of drug error and infection risk.”

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University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust