Better Births, the report of the National Maternity Review was published in February 2016 and set out a clear vision: for maternity services across England 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 she and her baby can access support that is centred on their individual needs and circumstances. It also calls for all staff to be supported to deliver care which is women centred, working in high performing teams, in organisations which are well led and in cultures which promote innovation, continuous learning, and break down organisational and professional boundaries.
Implementing the vision set out Better Births will support the Secretary of State’s ambition to halve the number of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries by 2030.
The Maternity Transformation Programme seeks to achieve the vision set out in Better Births by bringing together a wide range of organisations to lead and deliver on a number of work streams. The programme will be led by a Programme Board, supported by a representative group of stakeholders that will scrutinise and challenge decisions made by the Board.
The Maternity Transformation Programme aims to support and empower local transformation, through Local Maternity Systems and Maternity Clinical Networks. Better Births recommended that commissioners and providers work together across areas as Local Maternity Systems across footprints of 500,000 to 1.5 million people. We expect these will align with Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) footprints in the vast majority of cases, although some have population sizes outside this range. Local Maternity Systems will be expected to develop and implement a local vision for improved services and outcomes based on the principles outlined in Better Births. An aide-memoire has been published as part of STP guidance, summarising the key issues.
Nationally, there will be nine work streams on a range of measures designed to facilitate local change:
Supporting Local Transformation: this work stream will work in tandem with STP processes, and through the Maternity Clinical Networks, to provide targeted support to local maternity systems. In addition, we will support a small group of early adopters to harness enthusiasm for change and test the model of care described in Better Births.
Promoting good practice for safer care: there is much good practice already in the NHS and this work stream aims to ensure widespread dissemination and adoption of best practice, through targeted support to embed a safety, learning and improvement culture throughout NHS maternity services.
Increasing Choice and Personalisation: this work stream is working with Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneers to test new approaches to widen and deepen choices available for women.
Improving access to perinatal mental health services: this is a joint work stream between the Maternity Transformation Programme and the Mental Health Transformation Board. It aims to improve access for women to high-quality specialist mental health care, closer to home, when they need it during the perinatal period. View the NHS Five Year Forward View Mental Health Implementation plan.
Transforming the workforce: this work stream will aim to ensure that we have the right work force with the right skills to implement the vision set out in Better Births, and that the work force is supported to adopt new models of working, including continuity of carer.
Sharing data and information: NHS England will work with its partners to identify a consistent set of indicators, for local use to benchmark quality and drive service improvement.
Harnessing digital technology: NHS England is working with partner organisations to take forward recommendations from Better Births to develop a digital maternity tool and work towards the roll-out of patient-held digital maternity records.
Reforming the payment system: NHS England, in partnership with NHS Improvement will review the existing payment system and make recommendations as to reforms necessary to deliver the proposed new models of care in maternity provision. Any such reforms will be subject to consultation and scrutiny before the new funding models are agreed and implemented.
Improving prevention: Public Health England is leading work to prevent poor outcomes through actions to improve women’s health – before, during and after pregnancy to ensure that families get off to the best start possible.
Success of the Maternity Transformation Programme is reliant upon organisations working together at pace, as well as professionals embracing change to ensure high-quality services for women, babies and their families.
As well as being involved in shaping services locally, here are some of the ways you can keep in touch with the latest news and developments:
- Follow us on twitter – @NHSEngland and use our dedicated hashtags to follow and contribute to the conversation #MatImp, #MatExp, #SavingBabies.
- Keep an eye on our web pages for the latest news and events
- Watch out for Maternity Transformation blogs and bulletin issues.
For general questions and queries, please drop us a line firstname.lastname@example.org.