The NSW Fetal welfare assessment, Obstetric emergencies and Neonatal resuscitation Training © (FONT) is currently a mandated education requirement for all NSW ​Health maternity clinicians. 

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 change 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 new education pathway will be known as Perinatal Safety Education and will replace the current FONT training. The new Perinatal Safety Education consists of 2 streams: the Fetal Safety Education and the Maternal Safety Education. This education will continue to be mandatory education for maternity clinicians. 
The new learning pathways include:
  • Online modules (which will replace K2) for both Maternal and Fetal Education, to be completed only once.
  • An annual online assessment quiz for both Fetal and Maternal Safety Education. This must be completed successfully to achieve compliance.
  • 3 hours of Fetal Safety and 3 hours of Maternal Safety face to face educational content (team training) to be completed annually.

The redesigned FONT program focuses on improving the recognition, response to, and management of the deteriorating fetus and the deteriorating woman. The Perinatal Safety Education aligns with the updated Deteriorating Patient Education program, and ensures that perinatal safety 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 new Patient Safety education. This group reports to the FONT Redesign Steering Group.

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

A phased launch is planned during 2020 to maximise clinical safety and minimise disruption to clinical education planning. The timeline for implementation below has been endorsed by the FONT Redesign Steering Committee.
Fetal Safety Education: The new online modules will be launched on My Health Learning in April 2020, followed by new face to face content facilitated by instructors from 1 May 2020. The K2 CTG modules and clinical cases are no longer accessible (31 December 2019).
Maternal Safety Education: After a period of instructor preparation the new online modules and face to face content will be launched – this is anticipated for September/October 2020. After 30 June 2020 the K2 ‘Maternity Crises’ modules will no longer be accessible. 
There will be arrangements published prior to the launch of the Fetal Safety Education regarding recognition of prior learning, which will clarify the requirements for NSW staff who have undertaken alternative courses in fetal monitoring. 
The Clinical excellence Commission (CEC) facilitates a Community of Practice for current FONT instructors through regular virtual forums. The CEC will be launching a SharePoint in 2020 for the Community of Practice. This will provide a dedicated virtual space for resources and also facilitate virtual discussions between members. For information about joining the Community of Practice please go to:
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: Wednesday 22 January 2020
Contact page owner: Maternity, Child and Family