Background NHS clinical effectiveness initiatives aim to promote uniform standards of high-quality evidence based care. Clinical practise guidelines produced by the RCOG are a principle component of such care. We aimed to determine if the publication of the RCOG guideline on ‘Reduced Fetal Movements’ (RFM), (Feb 2011) had translated into the development of evidence-based policies in maternity units in the UK.
Methods UK maternity units were asked to provide a copy of their guideline for the management of reduced fetal movements (May-July 2012). 12 audit criteria were agreed by committee, based on the strongest evidence in the RCOG RFM guideline. Guidelines were then audited to assess concurrence with these criteria.
Results Responses were obtained from 50% of units. 12 units had no guideline. The 101 remaining guidelines were of variable length (1–27 pages). 8 were out-of-date and 12 had no review date. Zero unit policies contained all 12 criteria taken from the RCOG guideline. The median number of audit criteria included in any guideline was 7 (26.7%) (range 3–11). The only criterion included in all the guidelines was ‘After fetal viability has been confirmed…..the woman should have a CTG’. 11 units (10.9%) continue to recommend the use of kick charts.
Conclusion The translation of RCOG guidance into effective clinical practise is variable. Research is needed to determine how improvements can be made in this transition.
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