Tiny Tickers – Sonographer Training Project

The Heart of Experian Charity Fund granted Tiny Tickers £5,000 in August 2015. This has helped them to develop and improve their training model for sonographers who conduct the 20 week anomaly scans for mothers to be, so that they are better equipped to spot serious heart problems as early as possible.

Training sonographers to be better able to detect heart problems in unborn babies is a core element of Tiny Tickers work. The donation from the Heart of Experian Charity Fund has allowed Tiny Tickers to move forward with transforming their training model, training sonographers across a whole region of the UK at a time. Starting with a successful pilot training scheme in Yorkshire and moving on to train across the whole of Wales in 2016. They have just completed training across the whole of Northern Ireland training over 100 sonographers. When a similar programme was delivered in Wales in 2009, detection rates increased to more than 60%. The antenatal detection rate across the UK is 46%.

Tiny Tickers’ new training pilot began with a half day conference and was followed up with hands on training with individuals in their hospital units. In the years before the donation, they have only had the capacity to train up to 50 sonographers each year. The Yorkshire training pilot allowed them to train 226 sonographers. The future vision is to spread this training model across all 10 heart regions in the UK over the course of 5 years and to repeat and update training for sonographers long into the future

Two years after that donation, Tiny Tickers is training more health professionals than ever before and has ambitions to do more.

During May/June 2017 Tiny Tickers is the subject of the BBC Lifeline appeal that you can watch here or read more about it here on Tiny Tickers website

Every two hours a baby is born in the UK with a serious heart condition. Congenital heart disease (CHD) causes one in every 13 infant deaths. But spotting CHD early can save lives and give babies a better long term quality of life. This month’s BBC Lifeline appeal, presented by Gabby Logan, tells the stories of Tommy and Rocco, and showcases our specialist training for sonographers who are working hard to spot these defects.

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Rocco’s mum Lisa is convinced her sonographer helped save Rocco’s life by spotting his CHD during their 20 week scan.

Lisa says: “The sonographer took my hand and said ‘I can see a problem with your baby’s heart’. My world fell apart in a second. I clung on to the hope that, although extremely serious, the condition was fixable. The fact that our little one’s heart defect had been detected prior to birth, meant that he would be in the best possible place and receive the best possible care. I have no doubt that the sonographer saved his life.”