Stakeholder Council

We are reviewing and updating these webpages to reflect the current work of the maternity and neonatal programme.

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.

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Safer care workstream and national ambition

Michele Upton, Cyril Chantler, Bill Kirkup and Nicky Lyon presented this item to the Council. Michele provided the Council with an update on what the safety workstream is doing to meet the National Ambitions. Cyril then went onto discuss health inequalities with the Council. These included the importance of community hubs and digital maternity plans and records as well as LMSs having access to their own data.

Bill Kirkup then went onto discuss one of the systemic problems in maternity safety which is organisational and professional culture. He raised a core issue around organisations and individuals find it difficult to deal with error. There aren’t many places where staff are able to sit down, discuss the error, and receive training on how to deal with it. This also impacts on the notion of blame, and there are too many sources on the impact of blame, which makes it a very uncomfortable environment to deal with error with the recent high-profile media stories a prime example.

Nicky Lyon then lead the Council on an interactive session where each table was asked to discuss the following four questions:

  1. What does the council consider are the safety priorities in the next 16 months?
  2. Outside of the safety workstream itself, what three areas within the wider MTP should be considered as priorities in order to meet the ambition?
  3. What role can council members play in helping the MTP to meet the ambition?
  4. What channels do the organisations around the table have for communicating with women, and what messages could we give through those channels to improve safer outcomes?

The council responded to the first question by suggesting that multidisciplinary teams should have a shared vision where it is safe for both staff and women and their families to speak. There should be continued focus on improving postnatal care and rolling out continuity of carer. Issues that caused staff to burnout and leave should also be addressed where this is an issue.

The second question saw suggestions such as providing easily accessible information for women and staff and to focus in health inequalities in maternity, especially where the woman’s first language might not be English.

The council suggested in response to the third question that it could help the MTP in this area by continuing to bring its members experiences and knowledge to the programme and using the council as a vehicle to propel issues forward. Organisations represented by the council were trusted by women and had strong influence on policy and practice outside the council. Members also mentioned culture change and how they could help with messaging to facilitate change and encourage learning from excellence as well as harm.

Finally, the council responded to the fourth question regarding communications channels to women and their families by using the third sector channels such as Tommy’s, SANDs, NCT and others to reach huge audiences of women through channels that are trusted. The council also highlighted expertise in using religious channels such as the Sikh Council and Imams who have huge influence in their communities. There was also expertise in messaging through social media channels on subjects such as pre-conceptions health, smoking, foetal movements and reporting problems to your midwife.


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: