Our ultimate aim is personal and safe

The Chair of NHS England’s Maternity Transformation Programme Board previews an event marking the second anniversary of the publication of Better Births and encourages as many people as possible to get involved:

Next week we will welcome over 300 delegates to mark the second anniversary of the publication of Better Births.  

We have called our event ‘Personal and Safe’ because that is the ultimate aim for every woman who gives birth in the NHS and all of the organisations represented in our Programme are determined to achieve it.

Our registration page is still open, so please sign up before registration closes tomorrow Wednesday 21 March.

There has been so much activity since we last met together and the highlights include:

  • The formation of 44 Local Maternity Systems across England with commissioners, providers and service users working in partnership to improve care for women and babies.
  • Major progress across our seven Early Adopter Sites, including piloting of Continuity of Carer models.
  • Interesting learning from our seven Choice and Personalisation Pioneers, who are on target to deliver 10,000 Personal Maternity Care Budgets by the end of March.
  • Improvements in safety outcomes, including progress towards our ambition of a 20% reduction in stillbirths, babies born with brain injuries and maternal deaths by 2020.

We also want to take the opportunity of such a large gathering of maternity leaders to truly “check-in” and have open and honest conversations about the things we are finding more difficult, so we can learn together, and ensure that progress is accelerated in our third year. With this in mind, we have focused our programme for the day on the issues that we know our Local Maternity Systems have found the most challenging when drafting their local transformation plans. This includes:

  • Baroness Julia Cumberlege leading a session on personal maternity care.
  • Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent chairing a workshop on continuity of carer, offering guidance on putting policy into practice.
  • Sir Cyril Chantler leading a discussion on maternity investigations and their crucial role in improving safety
  • Celia Ingham-Clarke curating a broader conversation around safety in maternity services.
  • And Matthew Style overseeing a workshop on LMS finance, and the opportunities presented by integrated, place-based planning.

The national leaders that chair these sessions are there to receive feedback from local areas good, bad and ugly, and the learning will inform our work across the programme for the next year.

We will have a market place with more than 15 confirmed exhibitors, and delegates will have the opportunity to take a first look at the alpha version of NHS Digital’s data viewer, and a chance to get the latest updates on perinatal mental health, midwifery supervision, the ’15 steps challenge’ for maternity and maternity voices partnerships.

There will also be a series of ‘pop up’ talks, allowing delegates to hear and speak with national leads, face to face. Full details on both the marketplace and ‘pop up’ talks will be available in delegate packs on the day.

Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England; Lesley Regan, President of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and Jacque Gerrard from The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) will discuss how we ensure we develop a maternity workforce to deliver personal and safe care for women. Following this, delegates can put questions to a panel made up of the chairs from the day’s workshops.

Sessions will be fully interactive with live Twitter walls and the opportunity to contribute live with comments and questions via smartphones.

I do hope that you will be able to join us in Manchester to help make 2018 our biggest and best year yet in delivering the personal and safe care that women, babies and their families truly deserve.

Sarah-Jane Marsh

Sarah-Jane Marsh is National Director of Urgent and Emergency Care and Deputy Chief Operating Officer for NHS Engalnd.

Sarah-Jane joined NHS England in January 2023. Previously she was Chief Executive of Birmingham Children’s Hospital for over 13 years, achieving an Outstanding CQC rating, before integrating with Birmingham Women’s in 2017 to create Birmingham Women’s and Children’s, the first such organisation in Europe.

In 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Sarah-Jane was asked to become Director of Testing at the newly formed NHS Test and Trace and during 2021 she Chaired the National Health and Social Care Discharge Taskforce. Sarah-Jane has also led the NHS England Maternity Transformation Programme, the NHS England Children and Young People’s Transformation Programme, and the Genomics England New-born Screening Programme.

In 2022 Sarah-Jane received a CBE for her services to leadership in the NHS and an honorary professorship from the University of Birmingham in recognition of her contribution to science and research.

Her passions are exceeding the expectations of patients and citizens, while supporting leaders from all backgrounds to achieve their full potential.

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