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.