This network is formed of 16 organisations from the National Health Service (NHS), regulators, and leading third sector and charitable organisations. The aim of the consortium is to improve the dissemination of information for women who are considering pregnancy, are already pregnant or are breastfeeding.
As well as pregnant/breastfeeding women, this information is vital for healthcare providers that support these women. As such, information will need to be up to date, suitable for the relevant audience and transparent to ensure all women are able to make informed decisions about their health alongside the healthcare professionals who’s care they are under. The consortium is formed of the following members:
- Breastfeeding Network
- British National Formulary
- British Pregnancy Advisory Service
- Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency(MHRA)
- National Childbirth Trust
- NHS Digital
- NHS England and NHS Improvement
- National Institute for Care and Health Excellence(NICE)
- Public Health England
- Royal College of General Practitioners
- Royal College of Midwives
- Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
- Royal College of Physicians
- Royal Pharmaceutical Society
- UK Drugs in Lactation Advisory Service
- UK Teratology Information Service
As part of this transparency, the consortium has published their information strategy, outlining their aims/goals and the strategies they will employ to effectively meet these targets.
A guidance page on the use of medicines in pregnancy and breastfeeding has also been created to point all stakeholders towards the relevant information to them. This page provides information to all stakeholders with clear sections separating the information and highlighting to which group the information is relevant. The first two sections cover the use of medicines during pregnancy and breastfeeding, separating information that is relevant to healthcare professionals from that which is relevant to women. Furthermore, the page contains sections detailing how to report a side effect of a medicine during pregnancy/breastfeeding. Additional resources are provided in separate sections for clinicians/researchers and developers of new medicines.
In this way the consortium has already begun to achieve its objective of informing all stakeholders with the latest knowledge surrounding the use of medicines during pregnancy/breastfeeding. The strategy also notes that not all women will have easy access to digital information and will look to overcome said barrier in the future. As such, this project will be an ever evolving ongoing one not just with updating/revising information based on the latest understanding, but also through how this information is delivered to all relevant stakeholders.
The Safer Medicines in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Consortium is intended to provide clear and consistent advice, and a new report produced by the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) brings recommendations on how data on medicines used in pregnancy and breastfeeding can be better used to support the Consortium.