Around three per cent of babies suffer from the congenital condition of ankyloglossia, commonly known as tongue-tie.
The condition, which restricts the movement of the tongue, can prevent newborn babies from breast and bottle feeding effectively, and may lead to longer term difficulties with speech.
Although there is a simple corrective procedure available which can solve the majority of feeding problems, services around the UK are patchy and many parents experience difficulties getting their babies diagnosed and treated.
This skills shortage has prompted the University of Wolverhampton to join forces with Jenny Sutherland, a lactation consultant and tongue-tie practitioner who pioneered a treatment service in Dudley.
Jenny has been pivotal in initiating a short training programme with Midwifery Senior Lecturer Hilary Lumsden, from the University’s Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing.
A joint venture between the Dudley Group of Hospitals and the University, the advanced clinical skills in tongue-tie management course is planned to run at the end of March with nine candidates, and again in September this year at Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley.
Attendees will gain theory and practice in frenulotomy, the treatment to divide the tongue-tie.
Hilary said: “We have been inundated with requests for places and have filled both the March and September course. There is a great need for the training and we may have to extend our provision.
“There are currently six midwives in the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust that can perform this procedure. This course has the potential to significantly increase the number of practitioners locally who can delivery frenulotomy services.”
The Dudley Group of Hospitals has been providing services since 2006, with over 10,000 frenulotomies performed since then.
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Date Issued: Tuesday 25 March 2014