Six maternity pilot sites to shape midwifery supervision and help improve maternity services

NHS England has announced six maternity pilot sites to drive the design of new approaches to midwifery supervision, helping to improve quality of care for women and their babies.

The pilot sites will pioneer a new model of midwifery supervision in England ahead of legislative changes due in Spring next year.

The aim is to support midwives across all aspects of their role leading to improvements in maternity experiences and the quality of care in all parts of the health system. This includes improvements to the overall work experience, increased job satisfaction, reduced sickness, and better staff development.

In addition to announcing the pilot sites, one site will be working with an independent maternity provider to test how the model can be deployed for independent midwives working across large geographical areas.

Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, Head of Maternity, Children and Young People’s Services for NHS England, said: “Midwives have a uniquely rewarding, important and privileged role. The new model will be instrumental in providing midwives with a continuous improvement process that builds personal and professional resilience to enhance our quality of care for women and babies. It will also support preparedness for appraisal and professional revalidation. These pilot sites will play a significant role in shaping the new model of supervision, and I am looking forward to working with them closely.”

The successful pilots represent a range of maternity providers from across the country. They are:

  • Airedale NHS Foundation Trust
  • Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust.
  • University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust – who will also work with One to One North West to test the model for independent midwives working across large geographical areas.
  • Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
  • Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Whittington Health

In October maternity providers were invited to apply for pilot status and successful applicants have shown evidence of the following qualities in their proposals:

  • Leadership and partnership working
  • Enthusiasm to test new approach and share their learning
  • Governance and resources

The chosen maternity pilots will help to shape the design of the midwifery supervision model and their experiences will pave the way for national roll-out. The model aligns with the National Maternity Review which set out wide-ranging proposals to make care safer for women and their babies.

NHS England will run a series of webinars and publish commissioning guidance to help the maternity system to be ready for implementation.