The NSW Fetal welfare assessment, Obstetric emergencies and Neonatal resuscitation Training © (FONT) is currently a mandated education requirement for all NSW ​Health maternity clinicians. Maternity clinicians include obstetricians, general practitioner obstetricians, trainees in obstetric medicine, registered midwives and midwifery students.

The NSW FONT education program was developed in 2008, as a risk management strategy in response to a number of adverse events in maternity care. The objective of the FONT education program is to improve the safety of maternity care by facilitating and promoting a collaborative approach to assessing, detecting, managing and escalating clinical deterioration in maternal, fetal and newborn conditions.

FONT redesign

The FONT program is undergoing a major revision in 2019 to both content and delivery of the ‘F’ (Fetal welfare) and the ‘O’ (Obstetric emergencies) components. The ‘NT’ (Neonatal resuscitation Training) was redesigned in 2017/18, and is now available to a range of clinicians.

The redesigned FONT program will focus on improving the recognition, response to, and management of the deteriorating fetus and the deteriorating woman. The new ‘FONT’ will align with the updated Deteriorating Patient Education program, and ensure FONT remains as an integral part of the Deteriorating Patient Education program for maternity clinicians.

Governance arrangements

The Ministry of Health is leading the FONT redesign process, in collaboration with the Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) and the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI). The process is supported by:

  • The FONT Redesign Steering Group, Co-Chaired by Carrie Marr, Chief Executive, CEC and Tish Bruce, Executive Director, Health and Social Policy Branch, Ministry of Health. The Group meets quarterly and provides oversight of the project process.
  • The FONT Clinical Advisory group, Chaired by Clinical Professor Michael Nicholl, Senior Clinical Advisor, Obstetrics. The group meets every two months and advises on the content and delivery of the program.

Both groups include maternity clinicians and managers, representing both metro and rural districts.

NSW Health Fetal heart rate (FHR) monitoring guideline

The revised Maternity - Fetal heart rate monitoring guideline (GL2018_025) was released on 20 December 2018. Changes in the guideline include:

Changes in the guideline include:

Next steps

Implementation of the revised guideline, and the associated tools (algorithms and documentation tools/labels) should take place in all NSW Health maternity facilities over a locally chosen, 24 hour period between 1 March and 1 April 2019.

The following resources have been released to support the implementation of the revised guideline:

  • The eLearning module ‘Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring’ [course code 231325237] (which includes 3 short films within the module) available on My Health Learning.
  • Flip charts of matched algorithms and labels to be used to support educational events and documentation in practice have been distributed to the districts. Further copies can be printed locally.
  • An educational PowerPoint presentation ‘Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring - Changes In Approach 2019’ is available on the PSN website​ and on My Health
    . The presentation is designed to complement the other educational resources available on My Health Learning.

The new fetal heart rate monitoring labels and Antenatal Short Stay Observation Charts (ASSOC) are now available for districts to order from Stream Solutions. Information on ordering has been provided to all FONT District Maternity Leads.

An ‘interim’ (updated) teaching program for the face to face Fetal Welfare and Maternal Emergencies days is currently under development. The interim program will be available to educators by early March (to include the RANZCOG version of K2) on the PSN website, and will be applicable for those needing FONT training in 2019. More details and a FAQ information sheet will be available nearer to this time.

Regular communication regarding the progress of the FONT redesign project will be communicated via quarterly newslett​ers, forwarded directly to chief executives for distribution. Additional information will be emailed to the designated FONT District Maternity Leads.

Page Updated: Tuesday 14 May 2019
Contact page owner: Maternity, Child and Family