Fakenham mum must buy £2,000 helmet to cure baby’s ‘flat head syndrome’
- Credit: Ian Burt
A couple must buy a special helmet to cure their baby daughter's mis-shapen head, because they're not available on the NHS.
Little Amy Gambrill was born by caesarian in November, three weeks before she was due. At seven weeks her mother, Zoe Bradshaw, noticed a flat spot on her head.
Miss Bradshaw, 33, took Amy to see her GP, who referred her to a paediatrician. By the time she had been given an appointment at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, a month later, the condition had worsened.
Miss Bradshaw says that she was told to try 'repositional therapy', turning her baby to prevent her from laying on the flat spot, and come back four months later.
'I asked about cranial helmets and was told they do not do them on the NHS,' she said.
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'A few days later a senior paediatrician called to say he does not recommend the helmet as he is not allowed to, but had heard of a clinic where other parents have been very happy with the results. The consultation would be free but the helmet would cost me £1,950.'
Mother-of-three Miss Bradshaw and her partner Wayne Gambrill, 37, of Norwich Road, Fakenham, have raised half of money from family and friends. Amy is having her helmet fitted in 10 days' time.
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Antiques restorer Mr Gambrill and estate agent Miss Bradshaw have since discovered that their daughter, who suffers from so-called flat head syndrome, could have been spared having to wear the helmet had they been told about repositional therapy earlier.
The condition - called plagiocephaly or brachycephaly - is believed to be caused by babies sleeping on their backs.
Those born early are more susceptible to developing flat spots, which can be cured in the early stages by turning. Miss Bradshaw said she was not told early enough to correct the condition without a helmet.
'I think I've been let down. If I'd had the chance at eight weeks, I wouldn't be in this position where the only option is the helmet,' she said.
'What I want more than anything is to raise awareness of the condition and that things can be done much earlier to avoid the severe plagiocephaly and brachycephaly that Amy has.'
A spokesman for the N&NUH said: 'Cranial helmets are not available on the NHS nationally as there is no evidence that the eventual outcome for babies, with or without helmet therapy is any different.
'Instead the NHS offers repositioning techniques that involve simple changes to the daily routine including using different positions to feed and supervised 'tummy time' which give comparable results to helmet therapy.'
The couple have launched a justgiving page. Click here to visit it.