Publish date: 8 March 2024

Congratulations to Lisa Marshall, Mersey Care’s Operational Manager for Children and Young People (0-5), who has received a Chief Superintendent’s Commendation from Merseyside Police this week in recognition of the trust’s support for a Safer Sleep initiative across Liverpool and Sefton.

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The idea came about after Merseyside Police approached Mersey Care’s Health Visiting team who work with children and families in the antenatal period up to age five years in Liverpool to see how they could collaborate to prevent SUDI tragedies.

Frontline officers often see children and their families in their home environment during times of crisis and by enabling them to recognise unsafe sleep practices, then advice can be given and risk can be reduced. To facilitate this Merseyside Police developed an app to allow frontline officers to notify NHS Mersey Care instantly when they identify signs of unsafe sleeping, providing a faster response and offering an opportunity to engage with families and provide them with help and advice from the experts.

Since the initiative was launched in Liverpool in 2023 31 referrals have been made, which means that the risk of SUDI has reduced.

Lisa said: “Anyone who’s experienced a sudden and unexpected death of an infant, which we used to refer to as a cot death, will know that it’s an extremely tragic and traumatic experience for any family and we want to stop this happening.

“Merseyside Police will often come across these situations and so for them to be able to give reminders to families of the importance of safe sleep is vital. They’ll then inform the health visitor so they can review and make a clinical decision whether to contact the family to offer additional support. “

Constable Craig Walsh, who developed the app said: “This initiative is a great example of the preventative work that we carry out every day. Sefton have recently followed Liverpool in coming on board and we look forward to rolling it out further across Merseyside to support more families and prevent them experiencing the heartache of losing a child.Lisa Marshall certificate.jpg

“By identifying small but important changes and providing the right advice we can hopefully reduce the risk of harm for those families we come into contact with.”

More on the website here: Mersey Care and Merseyside Police aim to reduce sudden, unexpected deaths of infants :: Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust

Safer Sleep Week (11 to 17 March) is The Lullaby Trust’s national awareness campaign targeting anyone looking after a young baby. It aims to raise awareness of sudden, unexpected death of an infant syndrome (SUDI) and the safer sleep advice that reduces the risk of it occurring.