Toolkit launched to help ‘transform’ UK maternity services

The new toolkit follows work being done by NHS organisations in the capital to improve the clinical outcomes and care experiences for women and families in their local area.

“We’re really excited to see how NHS maternity services in other areas begin to transform”

Victoria Cohrane

For example, the document – called Our Early Adopters Journey: A toolkit – sets out learning on technology, continuity of care and patient information among other things.

In late 2016, North West London was chosen as one of seven “early adopter” sites, receiving funding from NHS England to test a range of new and innovative ways of working as recommended in the National Maternity Review, also known as the Better Births report. 

It involved six hospitals in the area that provide maternity care and which are run by four trusts, with funding distributed by North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups.

The trusts involved are Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

The organisations said they were “pleased to announce that we are now ready to share our learning and offer our help to allow other NHS regions to adopt and adapt the improvements we have made for women and families in the rest of the country”.

“The last few years have been really exciting as we have watched our maternity services grow and improve with more and more women telling us about their positive experiences of being pregnant and giving birth in North West London,” they said.

Achievements set out in the toolkit include improving continuity of care, with women assigned one dedicated midwife as their first point of contact and who provides continued care and support throughout their pregnancy, birth and the first few weeks of settling in with baby at home.

Other achievements highlighted in the document are a reduction in complicated births, shorter stays in hospital after giving birth and more women breastfeeding when leaving hospital.

The launch of the North West London Mum and Baby app – a personal guide for pregnancy, birth and beyond – is also described in the toolkit, as is a collection of information booklets covering pregnancy, birth and the first few weeks of parenthood.

Victoria Cochrane, consultant midwife at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “When we started this journey our vision was to lead the way in providing first class, safe maternity care that offers choice, continuity and has the family at the heart of everything we do.

“The hope is that by sharing the process and our learning as to how we got there that women, midwives and clinicians across the country will also get to experience all that we have set out to achieve.

“Following use of the toolkit, we’re really excited to see how NHS maternity services in other areas begin to transform,” she added.