Stakeholder Council

The Stakeholder Council is a representative group that enables stakeholders to influence and contribute to the Maternity Transformation Programme by scrutinizing its work and providing advice and constructive challenge to the Maternity Transformation Programme Board.

Organisations represented on the Council include charities, professional bodies, academics, as well as NHS clinical and managerial practice. This is vital to ensure that we can succeed in realizing the vision outlined in Better Births to improve care for women, babies and their families.

Latest update

The latest stakeholder council meeting was held in London on 17 January. Baroness Cumberlege updated the council that we are looking forward to a busy new year with the publication of the NHS long term plan meaning we will be able to build on the success of the work of Better Births.

Service User Voice, Coproduction and Maternity Voice Partnerships (MVPs)

We were lucky to be joined by Lisa Ramsey, Service User Voice Manager NHS England, and Laura James, Acting Chair National Maternity Voices, who presented to the Council.

Lisa highlighted to the Council the importance of listening to the Service User Voice. “Unless we hear the voices of people who use maternity services, we have a piece of the puzzle missing, and we must listen well to the voices we don’t easily hear.” Hearing the perspectives of those having babies and their supporters is critical to the NHS providing care which enhances the experience of pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. Lisa then ran through work that is progressing:

  • Using feedback to make improvements: promoting Friends & Family Test, CQC, Feedback gathered through local user engagement via Maternity Voice Partnerships.
  • Putting the voices of people who use maternity services at the heart of Better Births by ensuring a user representative joins each of the nine Better Births workstreams.
  • Ensuring women and birthing people are able to make informed decisions about their care during labour and birth through a new decision-making tool called iDecide.
  • Developing best practice guidance around trauma-informed care, so that those with a trauma in their history can be cared for well during their maternity journey.
  • Promoting the 15 Steps for Maternity toolkit: assessing quality from the perspective of people who use maternity services.

Laura James then went onto explain in more depth what is a Maternity Voices Partnership and how important they are. “A team of people who use maternity services, midwives, doctors and commissioners, working together to co-review, co-design and co-produce local maternity services.” Better Births recommended Maternity Voice Partnerships; a way of implementing Better Births with women and their families at the heart. There are currently 104 MVPs and growing.

NHS Long Term Plan update

Lauren Hughes, Director, Clinical Policy and Operations for NHS England presented on the maternity section of the NHS Long Term Plan.

The Long-Term Plan was published on 7 January 2019, and sets out how we will continually move forward so that in 10 years’ time we have a service fit for the future.  Chapter 3: Further progress on care quality and outcomes – A strong start in life for children and Young People is the part of the plan where most of maternity can be found.

In looking to improve childhood maternal health, we have taken a lifecourse approach. We know that health is a product of risk behaviours, protective factors and environmental agents that we encounter throughout our entire lives and that these have a cumulative effect on specific outcomes. This approach will support women to have the best possible pregnancy, birth experience and outcomes; ensure more babies survive and thrive through infancy; support children to have the best developmental opportunities and health outcomes and ensure that they grow into resilient, healthy and ‘health aware’ young adults. Lauren then went through the 6 stages of the life- course approach;

  • Preconception
  • Pregnancy & Birth
  • Neonatal Care
  • Early years intervention
  • Children & young people with illness
  • Transition into adulthood

There are two aims for maternity in the Long Term Plan; continuing to implement Better Births and addressing the gaps. Lauren informed the Council that as part of the continuing to implement Better Births there are the following areas of work; Saving Babies’ Lives Care Bundle v2, Neonatal Critical Care Review, Continuity of Carer, Perinatal Mental Health and Maternity Digital Records. The following pieces of work address the gap; Maternal smoking, Postnatal physiotherapy, Folic acid, Infant feeding and Networked Maternal Medicine.


The Council is chaired by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, Chair of the National Maternity Review. It meets every two months, mid-way between each Maternity Transformation Programme Board meeting. The Council includes the following organisations:

  • Baroness Julia Cumberlege – Chair
  • Sir Cyril Chantler – Vice-Chair
  • Alain Gregoire – Consultant and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Perinatal Psychiatry. Chair, Maternal Mental Health Alliance UK, and Global Alliance for Maternal Mental Health
  • Alan Fenton – Consultant Neonatal Paediatrician and President of the British Association of Perinatal Medicine
  • Alexandra Birch – Senior Commissioning manager for Maternity and Children’s Services. Cannock Chase CCG, South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula CCG. Stafford and Surrounds CCG (Also covering East Staffordshire CCG)
  • Alison Baum – CEO, Best Beginnings
  • Alison Wright – Vice President for UK and Global Membership, RCOG
  • Amanda Mansfield – South Central Ambulance Service
  • Annie Francis
  • Ayala Ochert – Co-Chair, Better Breastfeeding
  • Bill Kirkup – Chair, Morecombe Bay Inquiry
  • Caroline Lee Davey – Chief Executive, BLISS
  • Clea Harmer – Chief Executives, SANDS (Stillbirth & Neonatal death Charity)
  • Debbie Chippington Derrick – Association for Improvements in the Maternity services
  • Dianne Massey – Institute of Health Visiting
  • Elizabeth Duff – Senior Policy Advisor, National Childbirth Trust (NCT)
  • Felicity Plaat – Chairman, Obstetric Anaesthetists Association
  • Hannah Lynes – National Maternity Voices
  • Jane Brewin – Chief Executive, Tommy’s
  • Jenny Kurinczuk – National Lead, MBRACE- UK. Professor of Perinatal Epidemiology and Director of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU)
  • Julie Bolus – Non-Executive Director, NAPC
  • Kate Brintworth – Head of Maternity Transformation, RCM
  • Keith Reed – CEO, Tamba, Twins and Multiple Births Association
  • Maria Booker – Programme Manager, Birthrights
  • Mary Newburn – Consultant, Health Researcher, Public & Parent Involvement (PPI). Lead for Maternity theme service user representation working with Midwives, Kings College London
  • Maureen Treadwell – Research Officer, Birth Trauma Association
  • Melanie Pickup – CEO, Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS FT
  • Mike Lane – Clinical Lead & Board Member, Wandsworth CCG. London Maternity Lead, RCGP
  • Myles Taylor – Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Fetal Medicine, Urogynaecology, Devon and Exeter Hospital
  • Professor Neil Marlow – Professor of Neonatal Medicine
  • Nicky Lyon – Service User Representative and Campaign for Safer Births
  • Rebecca Steinfeld – Senior Policy Officer, Maternity Action
  • Rohit Kotnis – RCGP
  • Ruth Bender Atik – National Director, The Miscarriage Association
  • Sarah Noble – Head of Maternity, South Warwickshire Foundation Trust
  • Soo Downe – Professor of Midwifery Studies, University of Central Lancashire
  • Tim Draycott – MD, BSc, MBBS, MRCOG, Consultant at Southmead Hospital and the University of Bristol. North Bristol NHS Trust
  • Tracey Bignall – Senior Policy and Practice Officer, Race Equality Foundation

If anyone has any questions or wants any further information about the stakeholder council, please email: