Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneers one year on

Jennie Walker marks the one year anniversary of the seven Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneer sites being announced, and explains why this is an important and formative time for Local Maternity Systems (LMS) across the country. 

We are now in a fortunate position to learn from the Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneers’ experience to date and have also seen a new focus on Personal Maternity Care Budgets (PMCBs) and a target figure for them in the last few months.

Pioneers have been working hard to understand and develop their local choice offer and their approach to PMCBs, and at the end of May 2017 there were over 400 in place. This is the first step towards the target of 10,000 PMCBs by the end of this financial year, set out in Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View.

PMCBs are a new model of delivery for maternity providers and early indications from Pioneer pilots are that they are well received by women, bringing information upfront and locally mapped in a way that women have not seen in their localities before.

The learning from the process for Pioneers, to get to a position to be able to offer a PMCB, provides some key experience and lessons for other LMS, looking at the Better Births ambition for all women to have a personalised care plan in place for their whole maternity pathway. It has also flagged areas for wider development to support this transformation in the system. In response to this, we are developing a number of national tools that will be available for all LMS:

  • A model service specification for maternity services
  • A model qualification criteria, to support the procurement process
  • A decision aid for women on the standard pathway, to support their place of birth decision, and accompanying professional guidance
  • A checklist for quality information for women
  • A minimum standard for clinical governance and safety protocols across an LMS
  • Case studies on lessons learnt from Pioneers and wider developments.

We hope these tools will support LMS in their transformation plans and we are excited to work with LMS who want to drive forward the personalisation agenda, both through the bespoke support offers that are being developed, and through direct discussion on the tools and experience that we can share with systems as they develop their plans.

As maternity systems begin to deliver real personalisation of services, we are excited to share and learn from the excellent local initiatives already in place across the system. If you would like to know more about how we might support your LMS or share your experience or challenges with us, please get in touch:

Jennie Walker

Jennie Walker joined NHS England in March 2016 and is currently the Assistant Head of Patient Choice in the Personalisation and Choice Group.

Jennie is the lead on the Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneers who are focused on widening choice across CCG boundaries and deepening choice by providing opportunities for new providers; empowering women to take control through Personal Maternity Care Budgets (PMCBs); and enabling women to make decisions about the care that they receive.

Jennie is a solicitor with experience working with personalisation in social care through her previous role at the Independent Living Fund. She also has a Masters in Public Administration.


  1. Hard working midwife says:

    ‘Choice’ is all very well in an ideal world but we’re 3,500 full time midwives short across the country at present. where are these midwives going to appear from to give women ‘choice’? Better Births says we have enough staff already to cope with the changes it proposes, but gives no specific details on midwives caseload numbers or whether midwives are full time or part time workers! Where I work in order to care for a woman antenatal lay,intrapartum and postnatally we would have to increase from 2.5 full time midwives to 9 whole time midwives on a caseload of 260 women per month! Not going to happen in the current financial situation. As for the’ money following the woman’ in the case of personal maternity budgets, that will be nigh on impossible when’s a woman may have care from 3 or more NHS trusts in her pregnancy, as happens where I work.Women move during their pregnancy and change trusts. Won’t hold my breath on this one!

  2. Judith says:

    How can anyone say women have choice when midwives workin independantly cannot practice anymore. Womens rights are being ignored.