Make the NHS check for, and correct, tongue-ties at birth at all U.K. maternity units
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6 weeks ago I became a dad to a beautiful baby boy. But the poor little guy was, like up to 1 in 10 other babies in the UK, born with his tongue tied.
Babies with a tongue-tie have limited movement of their tongue and jaw, leading to difficulty breastfeeding, struggles with colic and gas, lack of sleep, and potential speech impediments later in life.
New mothers are put under immense pressure to breastfeed their babies. Although it is changing there is a perception that bottle feeding early on is her failing as a mother. But a tongue tied baby means breastfeeding can be a torturous ordeal every few hours. As a new Dad I've seen this first hand, and it's awful.
In other countries, like France and Italy, this is taken care of on the day in the hospital. There used to be a trained tongue tie practitioner (usually a midwife) on every maternity unit in the UK who could cut a tongue tie where necessary. But this is no longer the case.
This petition is calling for this service to return to all maternity units across the country.
We were expected to wait for 3 months of excruciating pain for both my son and wife, before we could get it fixed. We eventually gave in, unable to see our son in pain for any longer, and had the 5 second operation (literally just a snip) done privately - but it cost us £140, although it usually averages between £300-500. Not everyone can afford this cost, or the cost of going onto formula. For them, they just have to struggle on.
Currently the government mandate Health Education England (HEE) to provide national leadership on education, training and workforce development in the NHS – including midwives and tongue tie practitioners.
HEE, in turn, get local NHS Trusts to ensure appropriate services are available for the diagnosis and treatment of tongue tie. Various Trusts work differently meaning that some hospitals correct tongue ties weeks or even months after a baby is born. To go private costs hundreds to thousands of pounds.
There are a little under 700,000 babies born each year in the U.K. With up to one in ten babies born with a tongue tie that's almost 70,000 across the UK. That's 70,000-140,000 new mothers, parents and partners who will struggle to feed their child properly for weeks and months.
This needs to stop.
This petition is calling on the Government and HEE to ensure every local NHS trust/hospital can correctly identify and correct tongue ties before parents and babies are discharged from hospital.
Please do sign and share if you agree!
- Secretary of State for Health
- CEO of NHS England
Make tongue-tie corrections available immediately after birth on the NHS across the U.K.
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