New impact report on maternity care

The Royal College of Medicines| New impact report on maternity care

NICE has published a new report that  explores how its evidence-based guidance contributes to improvements.
The reports are based on data from national audits, reports, survey and indicator frameworks that show the uptake of NICE guidance and quality statement measures (via Royal College of Midwives).

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You can download the full report from NICE 

The Fifteen steps for Maternity Quality

NHS England|Fifteen steps for Maternity Quality from the perspective of people who use maternity services| May 2018

Fifteen steps for Maternity Quality from the perspective of people who use maternity service, is part of a suite of toolkits for The Fifteen Steps Challenge, which help to explore the experience of people who use maternity services and are a way of involving them in quality assurance processes.

Fifteen steps for Maternity
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This toolkit has been developed with Maternity Voice Partnerships (MVPs) in mind. MVPs are local teams of users/user reps, midwives, doctors and commissioners,
working together to review, co-design and co-produce local maternity services.
There are usually a number of MVPs per Local Maternity System (LMS). This toolkit is easy to use and aligns with NHS priorities for maternity care as outlined in the Better Births report published in 2016. This toolkit supports collaborative working between
all those involved in using, reviewing, designing and delivering maternity services, so that together improvements can be identified and implemented (Source: NHS England).

The report is available from NHS England 


A guide to support maternity champions

NHS Improvement have published this guide to support maternity safety champions at every levels (fron line, trust board and regional).  It outlines the role descriptions and responsibilities for maternity safety champions,  suggests activities to promote best practice, and also signposts existing safety initiatives and improvements that can offer support. The full guide is available from NHS Improvement here .

maternity guide
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Maternity care guideline

Intrapartum care for a positive childbirth experience | The World Health Organization

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This guideline brings together new and existing WHO recommendations that, when delivered as a package, will ensure good-quality and evidence-based care irrespective of the setting or level of health care.

It highlights the importance of woman-centred care to optimize the experience of labour and childbirth for women and their babies.

Full document: Intrapartum care for a positive childbirth experience


Additional links: WHO press release | Royal College of Midwives press release

Humanising birth: Does the language used matter?

A new post on the the BMJ blog outlines how those providing maternity care need to consider their language carefully. This requires thoughtful use of language, reflection on their practice as caregivers, alongside listening and communicating to women appropriately  and respectfully to guide them through the complexities of maternity care.

The authors highlight how the latest version of the NICE Intrapartum Care Guideline emphasises the importance of good intrapartum communication.  During a three month period, they  analysed the language used in maternity settings using a multidisciplinary, collaborative Facebook group to identify how language could improve the experiences of women, babies and families.



Within a week 121 comments were received offering further input regarding commonly used phrases and expressions used in maternity care, which should be challenged.
From these comments, six key categories were identified that required change:

  • paternalistic or patronising language
  • language which objectifies women
  • anxiety-provoking language
  • dictatorial language
  • discouraging language
  • exclusive or codified language.

Examples of poor language are shown alongside suggested alternatives, on the BMJ blog.

The researchers emphasise that good communication during the birthing process is critical to good maternity care; but achieving a shift in deeply ingrained language, and the thinking it reflects, is difficult.
They also recognise that  there is a fine line between changing terminology to use  language which is more respectful, and less intimidating for the mother, and substituting vague language which hinders the original message.

These newspaper articles may also be of interest:

Maternity services survey 2017

Maternity services survey 2017 |  The Care Quality Commission


This survey looked at the experiences of women receiving maternity services. The results show that overall women are reporting a more positive experience of maternity care and treatment. The publication highlights improvements in areas such as choice of where to give birth, quality of information and access to help and support after giving birth, when compared to the results from previous years’ surveys.

Compared with the last survey in 2015 a greater proportion of women said that they:

  • were offered the choice of giving birth in a midwife-led unit or birth centre
  • saw the same midwife at every antenatal appointment
  • were ‘always’ treated with dignity and respect during labour and birth
  • were never left alone during the birth of their baby at a time when it worried them
  • could ‘always’ get help from a member of staff within a reasonable time while in hospital after the birth

For more information, please see the statistical release, which provides the results for all questions: Maternity services survey 2017: Statistical release

Implementing Better Births: Continuity of Carer

This guidance sets out how local maternity systems can improve their services so that women experience continuity in the clinicians providing their maternity care | NHS England

Continuity of care and relationship between care giver and receiver has been proven to lead to better outcomes and safety for the woman and baby, as well as offering a more positive and personal experience. It was also the single biggest request of women using maternity  services heard during the 2016 National Maternity Review report, ‘Better Births’.

This guidance outlines four main principles that will need to underpin the provision of continuity of carer models across the country:

1. Provide for consistency of the midwife and/or obstetrician who cares for a woman throughout the antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal periods.

2. Include a named midwife who takes on responsibility for co-ordinating a woman’s care throughout the antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal periods.

3. Enable the woman to develop an ongoing relationship of trust with her midwife

4. Where possible be implemented in both the hospital and community settings.

Full document: Implementing Better Births: Continuity of Carer

better birth
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