EarlyLife

Policies and Procedures

Aims of Early LIfe Ultrasound Centre Ltd

Early Life Ultrasound Centre employs radiographers, midwives and healthcare professionals who have undergone CASE (Consortium of Accredited Sonographic Education) accredited sonography training. We will provide written brief pregnancy progress reports for parents, but will not directly be looking for or detecting abnormalities. If an anomaly is detected during a scan appointment then you will be referred to your GP or Midwife for a referral to the hospital that will enable further investigations to take place. At Earlly Life Ultrasound Centre our Sonographers are considered reporters of information and therefore do not make diagnosis. It is our aim to treat all clients with dignity and respect and to enable good communications and service for all clients who use our Clinic.

Quality Assurance

At Early life Ultrasound Centre we welcome feedback. If clients have any concerns or wish to make mention to anything about the service that they have received please feel free to do so via our website; www.info@earlylife.co.uk The main aim of our service is to reassure mothers and enable earlier bonding with unborn babies in a comfortable relaxing environment. It is a common misconception that when clients come in they will leave with beautifully posed images and/or know the sex of their baby and arrive at 3D/4D ultrasound clinic with false expectations. Babies do have minds of their own and it is important to remember that images seen on the internet are often the best images that clinics have been able to produce and may have been made to look better with computer software. It does need to be remembered that even with all of our technology and the most skilful sonographers we still do not have full control over nature. Most mothers go home with the most amazing images and feel that they have really had a head start in bonding with their babies, although, there are those babies that often find it comfortable in a position that will not allow us to see faces or sometime the sex of the baby. It should be noted that refunds are not given if this is the case as payment is taken for use of the clinic technology and sonographer time, we will however, offer one further free appointment.

Scan safety/ medical evidence

Ultrasound technology was first introduced 50 years ago and there has been no evidence that demonstrates that this type of ultrasound scanning is harmful to the mother or baby. It is our policy that all scans are performed in line with ALARA principles (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) and for no longer than a recommended 30 minute time period as per BMUS (British Medical Ultrasound Society) Guidelines. Our clinic works on the basis that not only does this enable parents to begin the bonding process from the onset but there is increasing evidence of both psychological and other health benefits reported in various medical journals over the past few years. It is our belief that following ultrasound bonding and reassurance scans the mother’s care of herself and therefore the care of her baby may improve. She may be more inclined to eat healthier, be more careful in her day-to-day activities and reduce her alcohol and tobacco intake. All Ultrasound scans should offer medical benefits and not be solely for aesthetics. Our scans are primarily intended to enhance parental bonding and will include a well-being check as a part of our bonding scans.

Policies on refunds

We request a non-refundable deposit when scans are booked the amount varies depending on the service that is being requested. This fee is to cover costs that are incurred when booking sonographers. If an appointment is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances refunds will be given, although we would ask that you notify the clinic as soon as possible.

Complaints

If for any reason clients are unhappy with the service that has provided, we will need to be notified by telephone or in writing. We endeavour to deal with all complaints within 72 hours. A manager will call to discuss the matter in more detail. You can also fill out the form in your picture pack which will give you the opportunity to make any complaints or comments. This should be posted Early Life Ultrasound Centre Ltd Lower Ground Floor, 1, Imperial Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. GL50 1QB

Email address – info@earlylife.co.uk

Telephone contact details – 01242 – 300 810

Any complaints can also be sent to the Care Quality Commission - CQC National Customer Service Centre Citygate Gallowgate Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4PA

National Customer Service Centre - Telephone: 03000 616161 Fax: 03000 616171

Staffing/ Professionals

Sonographer with extensive Obstetric experience will carry out scans, although from time to time we use the skills of trainee sonographers who are gaining practical experience in order to complete their training. Trainees will perform these scans in the presence of a senior member of staff. We would like to assure clients that the experience received at the clinic should not be inferior to scans that are performed by our fully qualified sonographers and that clients will be notified if this is the case before appointments are made.

Prior to appointments

Clients are encouraged to bring antenatal records when attending ultrasound appointment, however this would be to enable parents to ask questions should they require. Clients attending for early pregnancy scan should attend with a full bladder to allow for the scan to take place.

Appointments

We ask that clients arrive 10 minutes prior to the appointment time given to fill out registration forms etc. The appointment length for scans is 10 to 45 minutes depending on which package you choose. This is to allow for scanning and preparation of DVD, CD Rom and prints. Our policy is not to exceed the scanning time beyond 30 minutes. Usually the scanning time will range from 15-30 minutes to allow for the recording printing of pictures and to ensure that we work in line with the ALARA principle (As Low As Reasonably Achievable). This is a measure put in place for the safety of mother and baby. Often babies may not be in an ideal position on arrival therefore, the length of appointment will allow time for the baby to change position. Clients will also have time to move or walk around in order to get the best views of the baby. It is a common misconception that when clients come in they will leave with beautifully posed images and/or know the sex of their baby and some clients will arrive at 3D/4D ultrasound clinics with false expectations. Babies do have minds of their own and it is important to remember that images seen on the internet are often the best images that clinics have been able to produce and may have been made to look better with computer software. It does need to be remembered that even with all of our technology and the most skilful sonographers we still do not have full control over nature. Most mothers go home with the most amazing images and feel that they have really had a head start in bonding with their babies, although, there are those babies that often find it comfortable in a position that will not allow us to see faces or sometimes the sex of the baby. It should be noted that refunds are not given if this is the case as payment is taken for use of the clinic technology and sonographer time, we will however, offer one further free appointment. We are able to accommodate up to 6 members of clients family and friends at each scan appointment We would ask that small children and babies be accompanied by at least one adult to ensure that valuable scanning time is not lost.

Early pregnancy scans are considered to be viability scans. It may sometimes be the case that an internal scan will need to take place if staff are not able to obtain clear views and/or second scan appointments will need to be made at no extra cost. Clients are given the option to decline should they not wish to have an internal scan, although information regarding risks and benefits are readily available within consent forms for you to read before you undertake your scan and decide what you are consenting to.

Abnormalities

All Ultrasound scans should offer medical benefits and not be solely for aesthetics. Our 3D 4D scans are primarily intended to enhance parental bonding and to check well-being. 2D scans are for reassurance and dating purposes. . Our Baby scans are not performed as a check for fetal abnormalities. If however, any abnormality is detected by the Sonographer, he/she will explain their findings as fully as possible and a referral will be made. It is vital that you get in contact with the midwife or GP to request further investigation.

Gender

Gender determination is optional and only possible if the baby is in a position where the sex can be easily identifiable. We cannot guarantee an accurate diagnosis of your baby’s sex. If Clients do not wish to know the sex of their baby we will try to respect their wishes. However due to the detailed imaging of the scans the sex of the baby may be seen despite our best endeavours not to show this. If clients have a very strong wish not to know the sex of the baby it would be better for them not to have the scan.

Payment

Payment for scans can be made by cash or credit/debit card. Cheques are not accepted. A deposit will be requested when making an appointment.

Clinic recommendations

The best time for scan images and therefore bonding with unborn babies, is between 24 and 34 weeks. Women with twins wishing to attend for a 3D and 4D baby scan should visit at around 25 weeks, as twins have less space. Please note with the 3D and 4D scanning it is usually not possible to see both babies in the same image area.7

Early Pregnancy Protocol

When booking an early pregnancy scan it should be noted that prior to 6 weeks very little can be seen on an ultrasound scan therefore appointments can only be made if your pregnancy is 6 weeks or more. If your pregnancy is found to be too early due to unknown or incorrect dates for example, a rescan would need to be attended to complete the appointment and obtain the information required. This would be due to development of the baby or to ascertain whether or not the pregnancy is viable. If a pregnancy is suspected not to be viable then a referral will be made to you GP or midwife to allow for further investigation. A report will be issued with findings and findings will be explained, but this should not be considered a  diagnosis.  All Early pregnancy scans are completed in accordance with NICE (National Institute for Health Care and Excellence) guidelines.

NHS Scans

Our ultrasound scans should be regarded as additional scans and are not part of your antenatal care. It is important that clients attend all hospital appointments.

Image availability

All images will be available to take away on the day. If however, we encounter any unexpected delays in the processing we will send out the images by post within 2 working days.

Ultrasound Equipment

We use the latest state of the art GE Voluson E8 Expert, 3D and 4D scanning equipment. All Ultrasound equipment is tested regularly and maintained by engineers from Imagex Medical Ltd.

Image quality policy

The quality of 3D scan images and 4D scan movie are determined by the baby’s position, amount of amniotic fluid around the baby (the more the better) and the amount of tissue (skin, fat and muscle) between the probe and the baby. It is a common misconception that when clients come in they will leave with beautifully posed images and/or know the sex of their baby and some clients will arrive at 3D/4D ultrasound clinics with false expectations. Babies do have minds of their own and it is important to remember that images seen on the internet are often 5 the best images that clinics have been able to produce and may have been made to look better with computer software The most important factor in 3D and 4D baby scanning is the baby’s position. If the baby is lying in a difficult position a satisfactory 3D and 4D ultrasound scan may be difficult. In this case you may be asked to come back for one other free appointment.

Privacy policy

We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online. We do not share our information. Any information held is for the purpose if client safety and will not be shared with any other companies unless specifically authorised to do so in writing. Any information that we hold on paper will be stored in a locked cabinet in a locked office with no access to the public, although most information that we collect is held electronically. We are registered with the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) in accordance with the Data Protection Act.