Safe, sustainable and productive staffing in maternity services

Improvement resource to help standardise safe, sustainable and productive staffing decisions in maternity services.

This improvement resource has been designed by service users and a multidisciplinary group of health professionals to be used by those involved in setting clinical establishment and leading maternity services – from the midwife and obstetrician to the board of directors in NHS organisations.

The purpose of this resource is to help providers of NHS-commissioned services, boards and executive directors to support their lead maternity professionals in implementing safe staffing for maternity settings. It describes the principles for safe maternity staffing across the multi-professional team to ensure women and their families receive joined-up care appropriate to their needs and wishes.

The resource outlines a systematic approach for identifying the organisational, managerial and clinical setting factors that support safe staffing of maternity services. It makes recommendations for developing models of care, staffing, tools and monitoring, and acting on staffing issues and risk to meet women needs. It builds on standards and recommendations from the Royal College of Midwifery, Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Care Quality Commission, and is informed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Midwifery staffing guideline (NG4).

When using this resource, you should also refer to the National Quality Board’s (NQB) 2016 safe staffing resource Supporting NHS providers to deliver the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time.