Maternity challenge fund

Three projects have each being awarded £50,000 by NHS England to explore innovative ways to use women’s and their partners’ feedback to improve maternity services.

In this second round of the Fund, trusts were invited to apply for funding from a total pot of £150,000 set up to support further advances in this area. A judging panel from NHS England and the Department of Health selected the winners from almost 50 applications for support from the Maternity Challenge Fund, which was set up last year to encourage new approaches to using feedback to drive improvement in the experiences of women and their families while they are receiving maternity care.

The Maternity Challenge Fund aligns with Better Births, the report of the National Maternity Review recognises the importance of looking at the experiences of women to help teams understand how they can improve services.

The vision of Better Births for maternity services across England is for them to become safer, more personalised, kinder, professional and more family friendly; where every woman has access to information to enable her to make decisions about her care; and where the woman and her baby can access support that is centred on their individual needs and circumstances.

Patient feedback plays a key role in understanding the actual experiences of women and their families during maternity, from their perspective, and determining whether and how services need to improve. The Maternity Challenge Fund builds on the success of the Friends and Family Test and supports NHS England’s plans for more effective use of patient insight data.

It provides an opportunity to test the feasibility of ideas for adding value from patient feedback in maternity services and to see whether, in practice, they work and could be transferable to other trusts.

The emphasis for this second round is on projects that continue to focus on service improvement but also address one of the following areas of potential use for patient feedback:

  • Making the best use of feedback given about individual clinicians or other named staff, for example, how FFT or other tools for gathering patient feedback could potentially contribute to such things as revalidation of clinicians, staff recognition schemes or individual staff performance management processes.
  • Exploring the potential to attribute feedback to named patients where they choose to identify themselves, in pursuit of improving their individual care or finding out more about areas of concern.

The Maternity Challenge Fund is overseen by the Insight and Feedback team, who can be contacted at

Winning projects – Round 2

Completed projects from Round 1 of the Maternity Challenge Fund

Find out about the two completed projects that were carried out in the first year of the Maternity Challenge Fund – at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay and at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Each has produced toolkits from their work to help other trusts to develop areas of their maternity work around communication with patients and gaining feedback from seldom heard groups.