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 8 March and showed continued progress in meeting the recommendations set out in Better Births. The meeting was again kindly hosted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).

Baroness Cumberlege reflected on the progress in establishing Local Maternity Systems (LMS) and following assurance and feedback in late 2017/early 2018 they are being supported to improve their plans to deliver personal and safe care to women and their families.

The latest CQC results were very positive. Overall, women reported positive experiences of maternity care in 2017, and there were small incremental improvements in results across almost every question. Compared with the last survey in 2015 a greater proportion of women said that they:

  • were offered the choice of giving birth in a midwife-led unit or birth centre
  • saw the same midwife at every antenatal appointment
  • were ‘always’ treated with dignity and respect during labour and birth
  • were never left alone during the birth of their baby at a time when it worried them
  • could ‘always’ get help from a member of staff within a reasonable time while in hospital after the birth

More details about the survey can be found on the Care Quality Commission website.

Soo Downe – Professor of Midwifery Studies, University of Central Lancashire and Jacquie Cornish, National Clinical Director Children, Young People and Transition to Adulthood presented a verbal update on postnatal care. Better Births concluded that “current postnatal services are under-resourced and overlooked”, and that commissioners and providers “must attach sufficient importance to securing high quality neonatal and postnatal care in order to give women and their babies the best start in family life”.

NHS England has convened an Expert Reference Group (ERG) chaired by Dr Jacqueline Cornish, to help produce this steer for Local Maternity Systems. Membership of the Postnatal Care ERG has been selected to ensure representation from the wide range of clinicians, professional bodies and system leaders involved in the provision and regulation of postnatal care.

Maria Booker – Programme Manager, Birthrights presented a paper on the Montgomery vs Lanarkshire findings. The key focus will be to create a consent tool for clinicians, particularly intrapartum, but can be extended beyond that to ensure full information is given to inform consent at all stages. There will a follow up workshop in April 2018.

The council agreed that communications between clinicians and women in labour was very difficult and that this reinforced the importance of continuity of carer.

The council also discussed the ongoing work to make sure the workforce is there to implement Better Births and Health Education England (HEE) are in the process of drawing up a maternity workforce plan and the next step is to help develop LMS level plans.


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
  • 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
  • Annie Francis- CEO, Neighbourhood Midwives Ltd
  • Bill Kirkup- Chair, Morecombe Bay Inquiry
  • Caroline Lee Davey- Chief Executive, BLISS
  • Clea Harmer- Chief Executives, SANDS (Stillbirth & Neonatal death Charity)
  • Dianne Massey- Institute of Health Visiting
  • Elizabeth Duff- Senior Policy Advisor, National Childbirth Trust (NCT)
  • Felicity Plaat- Chairman, Obstetric Anaesthetists Association
  • Gabrielle Bourke- RCM Regional Officer
  • Jane Brewin- Chief Executive, Tommy’s
  • Jenny Kurinczuk- National Lead, MBRACE- UK. Professor of Perinatal Epedimiology and Director of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU)
  • Amanda Mansfield – Medical Director, South Central Ambulance Service
  • Keith Reed- CEO, Tamba, Twins and Multiple Births Association
  • Lisa Ramsey- Chair, Maternity Voices Reading
  • 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
  • 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 edicine, Urogynaecology, Devon and Exeter Hospital
  • Alan Fenton – Professor of Neonatal Medicine, Imperial College London. Consultant at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital. President of the UK Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • 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
  • Tim Overton- President, British Maternal & Fetal Medicine Society London. Consultant in Fetal Medicine and Obstetrics, Clinical Director for Women’s Services, St Michael’s Hospital
  • 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: