National maternity review is now officially underway

NHS England has today announced the full list of members for the national maternity review, a major review of maternity services set to modernise care for women and babies across the country. The review will be led by Baroness Julia Cumberlege and its terms of reference were published last month. Here she outlines its importance:

I’m delighted that the national maternity review is now officially underway, with the membership of the core review team finalised.

We held our first meeting on 23 April. This provided us with the opportunity to think about the huge responsibility we have undertaken. We will set out to make a demonstrable difference to the experience and outcomes that women, their babies and their families can expect from maternity care in England.

We had a wide ranging and thoughtful initial discussion. Important, recurring themes included, but were not limited to, the following:

  • the importance of team working, which must be learned and assured
  • the need for care to maximise positive outcomes – both physical health and mental wellbeing-  for the mother, the baby and the family as a whole
  • the opportunities for reducing avoidable harm
  • the need to provide women with as much information as they need in order to understand and be able to make their choices
  • the importance of seamless care and the need for governance arrangements to achieve this

Most importantly, the team were clear that the success of the review will be entirely dependent on the breadth and depth of our engagement going forward. Our immediate priority will be to clearly set out how we will achieve this and ensure people can get involved.

In the meantime, if you want to be kept informed about the progress of the review, including receiving details of how you will be able to input into the review and have your voice heard, please send us your contact details to

National Maternity Review full list of members

  • Baroness Julia Cumberlege (Chair)
  • Sir Cyril Chantler (Vice Chair)
  • Professor Cathy Warwick, Royal College of Midwives, Chief Executive
  • Dr David Richmond, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, President
  • Annie Francis, Neighbourhood Midwives, Chief Executive
  • Sarah Noble, Consultant Midwife, Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust
  • Elizabeth Duff, NCT, Senior Policy Adviser
  • Alison Baum, Best Beginnings, Chief Executive
  • Rowan Davies, Mumsnet, Head of Policy and Campaigns
  • James Titcombe, Morecambe Bay parent and CQC adviser on safety
  • Dr Alan Fenton, Consultant Neonatal Paediatrician, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS FT
  • Professor James Walker,  Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Leeds
  • Dr Catherine Calderwood, National Clinical Director for Maternity and Women’s Health
  • Dr Jocelyn Cornwell, Point of Care Foundation, Chief Executive
  • Sir Sam Everington, Chair, Tower Hamlets CCG and board member of NHS Clinical Commissioners
  • Professor Dame Donna Kinnair, Clinical Director Emergency Department, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals
  • Melany Pickup, Chief Executive, Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Dr Julia Cumberlege

Baroness Julia Cumberlege CBE DL was appointed a Junior Health Minister in 1992 and for five years she covered all Health and Social Services matters in the House of Lords.

She has been commissioned by two Governments to produce two national reports: “Neighbourhood Nursing – a Focus for Care” and “Changing Childbirth”.

At the invitation of the Royal College of Physicians, Julia has chaired two working parties. The first report “Doctors in Society” was published in December 2005. The second, “Future Physician, Changing Doctors in Changing Times”, was published in May 2010.

From 2000 until July 2006, Julia chaired St George’s Medical School.

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  1. Eileen Turnbull says:

    I welcome this review as a neonatal nurse, far too many families have suffered and their entire lives have been destroyed following the death of their babies. In my experience Morecambe Bay does not stand alone, education and training is key to safe care of mothers and babies.

  2. Gemma Gales says:

    How do we contribute to the review?

  3. Lesley Jayne Welsh says:

    I support the maternity review it is exciting and a fantastic opportunity to identify issues that impact on the overall care Women and families receive….
    Currently we have a high percentage of deliveries via C section, I hope our teams working in Obstetric theatres will not be forgotten and their views taken on board. I’m employed by Women and Children’s services for Maternity/Obstetric theatre (emergencies) our prioriity to provide optimum patient care whilst saving lives….. as specialist Obstetric theatre practitioners qualified and trained to prioritise and make decisions as part of a team.. defining ” quality within our Obstetric theatre specialism requires specialist expertise.”. therefore i look forward to your team recommendations for improvement within organisations .. kindest Regards,


  4. Sally Etheridge says:

    The email address above – is incorrect. Please could you let me know how we can contribute to the review.
    Thank you.

    • NHS England says:

      Dear Sally,
      This is the correct email address and it is working correctly. Please could you try again and let us know if you are still having problems.
      Kind regards,
      NHS England

  5. Clare Meynell says:

    As a recently retired midwife I would heartily agree with Martin Ward Platt’s comments about putting the baby at the forefront of maternity care, using the baby friendly initiative, with emphasis on special care for early babies, and also wondering if anything will change with this review.

    I believe nothing will change until All health professionals ( Drs, midwives, nurses and health visitors and the allied health professionals) have normal birth and breastfeeding, and its effect, embedded into their education curriculum which is currently inadequate to be effective. Then they will understand the true significance and importance of ‘whole’ maternity care for all.
    When does the baby become a child? The first two years are the most critical.
    Do you have a current mother & baby on the panel ?

    Good luck and I look forward to seeing ‘maternity care’ change from Cinderella to emerging as the Princess.

    Clare Meynell

  6. Jane Plumb says:

    We at Group B Strep Support are very interested in this important review and would welcome the opportunity to contribute. Would you please contact us to let us know how to go about this please?

    I’ll look forward to a response.

    Thank you.

    Jane Plumb
    Chief Executive
    Group B Strep Support

  7. Fiona Perkins says:

    I would like to attend one of the professional events if possible the one in Bristol. I am a midwife.

  8. Dick Wallis says:

    I feel concerned that insufficient attention may be given to the role of new and advanced Healthcare Technology in this sector, including several world-leading perinatal innovations from other countries (e.g. NZ), as UK clearly does not have a monopoly of all the right or best answers. The newly-formed AHSNs, in addition to R&D grant-making authorities (e.g. Innovate UK, NIHR, etc.) are becoming increasingly aware and active in this sector, but Healthcare Technology does not seem to be sufficiently represented on the review panel; presumably professional specialists could be co-opted as the review progresses?

  9. Jill Demilew says:

    Very timely review: For midwives, maternity service encompasses, health and wellbeing of mother, baby/s and supporting safe and effective parenting. This last aspect of maternity care has been largley ‘hidden’ in service planning and commissioning. The resource required for this needs to be acknowledged in workforce planning and all modelling for ‘labour care’ wherever this takes place. e.g. effective identification of women or children ‘in need’ or ‘ in need of protection’, referral processes, attendance at safeguarding children or adult meetings to plan and montitor ongoing care; the ‘following up’ where women DNA (do not attend) and ‘assertive outreach’ style services are all necessary to both addressing health inequalities, and part of reducing preventable maternal, perinatal and infant mortality and morbidity rates. The midwifery resource to provide this has historically been unmeasured and unfunded. Please consider this context re birth rate increase by 25% in last decade. Early identification, prevention and early intervention contribute in part towards reducing both mortality and morbidity rates. Need workforce that can provide the whole pathway of care such that as midwives this part f the work is acknowledged, funded and reasonably possible t acheive . Thanks

  10. Dr Alison Twigley says:

    The importance of team working is being emphasised. Why is there no consultant anaesthetist named as being involved in the review?

  11. Dr Felicity Plaat says:

    I applaud a review of maternity services in the wake of the catastrophe at Morecombe bay. I am deeply concerned that those involved with acute care of the high risk patient are not represented. These include anaesthetists who act as peripartum physicians and who are involved in all critically ill patients as well as all those women requiring regional analgesia. Also missing is representation of obstetric physicians who are experts in maternal physiology and pathology. I would also have expected the Birth trauma Association to have been represented.
    The groups I mention are those involved when birth is not straightforward. If our future maternity service is designed to avoid the catastrophe that was Morecombe Bay such groups must be allowed to contribute.

  12. Claire Kay says:

    May I ask that you invite a contribution from the Birth Trauma Association They tirelessly support & speak out for women who were traumatised by their experience of childbirth. Important findings are that many women may develop PTSD after a traumatic birth with the symptoms of trauma that you might expect from any big shock, but with a baby to care for too! Often this is confused with PND, so a lot more work needs to be done on this to help women to access the right treatment, & to prevent it from happening. A woman may be traumatised if: during labour or her immediate postnatal care she experienced intense fear, helplessness or horror at what was happening. Often staff failing to treat women with kindness, dignity, giving explanations or seeking full consent can contribute hugely to trauma too, as can having her baby taken away for any length of time. Please will you include this as part of your discussions about mental health & childbirth. Many thanks, Claire Kay.

  13. Adrian Green says:

    How can a report on safe staffing in small units not involve small units in the process?
    I work on the Isle of Wight which is one of the smallest units in England and as such would have useful insight into the issues involved.
    I am not aware that we have been approached to offer the benefit of our experience which is unavailable to the members of the panel.
    If you know nothing about a topic you can not safely decide on it.

    • NHS England says:

      Dear Adrian, thank you for your input and for highlighting the particular issues involved with smaller maternity units. We will of course visit smaller units as part of our review, and we hope you will engage with the Review. Please look out for opportunities to have your say on this website, and please do contact us on
      Kind regards,
      Maternity Review Team

  14. Stephen Porter says:

    Disappointed that there is not one operational Consultant Obstetrician on the panel.

    • NHS England says:

      Dear Stephen, while the panel reflects a wide range of experience, we hope to hear directly from Consultant Obstetricians during our service visits, regional events and online.
      Kind regards,
      Maternity Review Team

  15. Diane charlton says:

    Disappointed to see that there is not one operational midwife or neonatal nurse participating in this review

    • NHS England says:

      Dear Diane, two of our panel members are practicing midwives, but what’s most important is that we hear from midwives and nurses during our service visits, at our regional events, and online. Please look out for details on this website.
      Kind regards,
      Maternity Review Team

  16. Martin Ward Platt says:

    Cranbrook, Peel, Short, Winterton, Cumberlege 1 (“Changing Childbirth) and now we will have Cumberlege 2. What the previous reports all had in common was an unrelenting focus on the adult component of maternity and childbirth, with very little about babies except as statistics, mostly their mortality and morbidity. The composition of the current working group engenders no confidence that this time round it will be any different, in spite of the increasing recognition of the importance of the UNICEF baby friendly initiative, and the work in Special Care of BLISS. All power to Mr Titcombe and Dr Fenton: see if you can make it different this time.

    • NHS England says:

      Dear Martin, thank you for this thoughtful contribution. We will make sure to involve BLISS in our review and to study the UNICEF baby friendly initiative.
      Kind regards,
      Maternity Review Team

  17. Deborah Evans. Managing Director West of England Academci Health Science Newtwork says:

    Very pleased to hear about the Review, and your commitment to engage is essential.
    I hope the Review will consider inequalities in outcomes in maternity care and consider what can be done about these.
    We would be very happy to invite you to the West of England to look at the work which is going on here about use of magnesium sulphate in pre term births – we think our results are in line with the best in the world.. Our partners in the South West Strategic Clincal Network are doing great work around a dashboard to focus improvement efforts, and you will already be aware of Professor Tim Draycott’s work on safety. If you re intersted in models of free standing birthing units in urban areas theres a great,recent one established at Cossham Hospital linked to North Bristol Trust. Well worth a visit

    • NHS England says:

      Dear Deborah, thank you for this helpful information, we are certainly working this into our plans.
      Kind regards,
      Maternity Review Team

  18. diana odompleh says:

    please i will like to know if your discussion was also centred giving nurses who made their family using a surrogate maternity leave as well.

  19. Tina Perridge says:

    I am excited by the opportunity this review offers for a real change in the way maternity services are organised amd more importantly experienced. We owe women a better experience.

    • NHS England says:

      Dear Tina, thank you, please keep an eye on this website for opportunities to get involved.
      Kind regards,
      Maternity Review Team