NHS England announces sites to test maternity services of the future

Chair of the Maternity Transformation Programme and Chief Executive of Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Birmingham Women’s Hospital, Sarah-Jane Marsh has today announced seven local areas who will be taking forward the recommendations set out in Better Births.

The Early Adopter sites, which have been carefully chosen by a selected panel, will test a range of new and innovative ways of working to help transform maternity services, such as:

  • Using small teams of midwives to offer greater continuity of care to women
  • Creating single points of access to a wider range of maternity services
  • Making better use of electronic records to provide more joined up care
  • Improving postnatal care
  • Providing better personalised care planning

Chosen areas cover a population of nine million, with around 126,300 births each year. A share of up to £8 million will be available over the next two years to support this transformational change in maternity services.

Better Births recommended that NHS England should ‘seek volunteer localities to act as early adopters’ to harness enthusiasm for change and test the model of care described in the review. The sites announced today will be lead the way in developing and implementing changes to local services by bringing providers and commissioners together as Local Maternity Systems to ensure women and their babies receive safe, more personalised care that meets the needs of the local community.

Sarah-Jane Marsh, said: “I am hugely excited to be working with our fabulous seven early adopter areas. They are crucial to transforming maternity care in England, and the changes they implement will make services more responsive, personalised, safer and kinder, as well as providing learning for the rest of the country.”

Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England and Senior Responsible Owner for the Maternity Transformation Programme, said: “These seven early adopters have all presented strong clinically lead visions for transforming maternity services. The changes these sites seek to make will be wide ranging and test a number of recommendations from Better Births, such as making continuity of carer a reality for women, ensuring personalised care planning and improving postnatal care. The Early Adopters will help deliver real improvements to maternity care in these areas.”

In July 2016, NHS England invited local areas to act as Early Adopters to test a combination of all areas outlined in the Maternity Transformation Programme.

The Early Adopter sites are:

  1. Birmingham and Solihull STP
  2. Cheshire and Merseyside STP
  3. Dorset STP
  4. North Central London STP
  5. North West London STP
  6. Somerset STP
  7. Surrey Heartlands STP

Early adopter sites will play a key role delivering action and improvement quickly and their experiences will pave the way for national roll-out of initiatives that deliver safer, more personalised care for all women and every baby, improve outcomes, and reduce inequalities. Early adopters will be crucial in delivering the objectives of the Maternity Transformation Programme.


  1. Megan says:

    Will each of these areas also be piloting the personal budgets element of Better Births. I have read elsewhere that this will be piloted by four CCGs so not sure what the link is between those CCGs and these seven sites?

    • NHS England says:

      Dear Megan,
      The Personal Maternity Care Budgets are being piloted by 7 Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneers, which have been selected to test ways of improving choice and personalisation for women accessing maternity services. Each Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneer is a cluster of 2 to 11 CCGs, covering 36 CCGs in total. You can see the full list of the Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneers here.

      Two of the Pioneers (Birmingham United Care Partnership (BUMP) and Cheshire and Merseyside)) are also involved with the Early Adopter programme. The 7 Early Adopter sites are the Maternity Transformation Programme’s flagship areas around the country, testing a wide range of models of care to improve maternity services. The experiences of the Early Adopters will pave the way for national roll-out of initiatives that deliver safer, more personalised care for all women and every baby, improve outcomes, and reduce inequalities. Alongside their other innovations, these two Early Adopters will be piloting Personal Maternity Care Budgets.

      Kind regards,

      NHS England