Safer Births project

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The Safer Births programme enabled frontline professionals working in maternity units to improve the safety of the services they deliver to women and their babies.

 

About the Safer Births programme

We worked with maternity teams across the country to improve the outcome of care during labour and birth for mothers and babies. Using a range of techniques, from bespoke management consultancy to mentoring opportunities with other NHS trusts, we provided custom support to 12 multi-disciplinary maternity teams.

About Safer Births

While the overwhelming majority of births in England are safe, the lack of a systematic approach to ensuring safety across maternity services is creating unnecessary risks.

There is evidence of local activity to improve safety in maternity services, but it is often small scale and fragmented. The challenge facing maternity units is to make systemic changes in care that are sustainable to ensure that safe care is reliably delivered.

In 2008 the report of the independent inquiry commissioned by The King's Fund, Safe Births: Everybody's business, and the Healthcare Commission's review of maternity services, Towards Better Births, identified similar areas in need of improvement, including staffing, training and communication. Together with a number of other reports, guidance documents and reviews over the past few years, they identified the challenges for maternity services and set out recommendations. The Safer Births programme followed on from these developments as a service improvement programme that aimed to improve the safety of maternity services in England. The goal of the programme was to enable frontline professionals working in maternity units to improve the safety of their services that they deliver to women and their babies.

The Safer Births initiative was a partnership between The King's Fund, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries, NHS Litigation Authority and the National Patient Safety Agency.

Our work

The goal of the Safer Births programme was to enable frontline professionals working in maternity units to improve the safety of their services that they deliver to women and their babies.

We worked intensively with 12 maternity teams as part of an improvement network launched in September 2009. The aim of the network was to improve the outcomes of care during labour and birth for mothers and babies.

From September 2009 the Safer Births initiative provided customised support to 12 multidisciplinary maternity teams in England as part of a service improvement network.

This included:

  • bespoke management consultancy support
  • project management input
  • access to the expertise, tools and activities of the Safer Births partners
  • face-to-face networking and learning opportunities for networking via regional action learning sets
  • mentoring opportunities with other NHS trusts/foundation trusts
  • access to national learning events
  • facilitated MaPSaF workshops
  • access to educational webinars.

Programme team

  • Vinice Thomas – former Service Improvement Lead, Safer Births
  • Anna Dixon – former Director of Policy
  • Anne Benson – Consultant, Leadership
  • Nicola Hartley – Director, Leadership
  • Donna Willis – Senior Consultant, Leadership
  • Vijaya Nath – Senior Consultant, Leadership
  • Rhiannon Handslip – former network co-ordinator

Programme partners

The Royal College of Midwives

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) aims to promote and advance the profession of the midwife. The RCM represents the vast majority of the UK's midwives and is one of the world's oldest and largest midwifery organisations, and celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2006. It is also a trade union.

For more information visit the RCM website

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is dedicated to the study and the advancement of standards in women's reproductive healthcare. It does so through publishing working party reports, scientific opinions and clinical guidelines and works closely with other professional organisations and healthcare agencies. It is also involved in postgraduate medical training and the continuous professional development of consultants.

For more information visit the RCOG website

The Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries

The Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE) is an independent charity. Its mission is to improve the health of mothers, babies and children by carrying out confidential enquiries and other related work on a UK wide basis and widely disseminating the results.

NHS Litigation Authority

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) is a Special Health Authority responsible for handling negligence claims made against NHS organisations in England. In addition to dealing with claims, the NHSLA has an active risk management programme to help raise standards of care in the NHS. The Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (CNST) is a risk pooling scheme administered by the NHSLA which handles all clinical negligence claims made against NHS organisations where the incident took place on or after 1 April 1995. Maternity claims account for around 50% of the value of all CNST claims. The costs of CNST are met by contributions from NHS organisations. The CNST maternity standards apply to NHS organisations providing labour ward services and are used by the NHSLA to assess the management of risks. NHS organisations achieving the standards receive a discount from the maternity element of their CNST contribution.

For more information visit the NHSLA website

National Patient Safety Agency

The National Patient Safety Agency is an Arm's Length Body of the Department of Health. It encompasses three divisions; the National Research Ethics Service, the National Reporting and Learning Service and the National Clinical Assessment Service. The NPSA's vision is to lead and contribute to improved, safe patient care by informing, supporting and influencing healthcare individuals and organisations.

For more information visit the NPSA website

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