Westminster Health Forum

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Priorities for improving maternity services and care

Morning, Tuesday, 16th April 2024


This conference will focus on maternity services in England, and priorities for improving quality and care outcomes.


Stakeholders, regulators and policymakers will assess progress and next steps for making services safer, more personalised and equitable, in line with aims outlined in NHS England’s Three year delivery plan for maternity and neonatal services published in March 2023. The discussion takes place following Oxford University’s Maternal mortality 2020-2022 report published in January 2023, highlighting a near 20-year high in deaths during pregnancy or soon after childbirth.


Delegates will discuss the Government’s response to the Kirkup Review and the earlier Ockenden Maternity Review, looking at creation of the maternity and neonatal oversights group, recent funding for maternity workforce expansion, as well as the recently launched national initiative to improve safety in maternity care through the new Maternity and Newborn Safety Investigations programme.


It will be an opportunity to consider the work of the expert panel appointed by the Health and Social Care Select Committee, with discussion on progress and remaining barriers in areas including maternity care and leadership, safety culture, staff training and whistleblowing, following the Government accepting recommendations from inquiries and reviews.


Addressing challenges for the maternity workforce will also be a focus, including next steps for developing and sustaining a culture of safety throughout patient experience, and the role of integrated care systems in driving improvements and leadership at the local level.


The agenda looks at developments in the use of data to monitor performance, improve care, tackle variation and track progress in meeting ambitions for transformation.


Further sessions discuss priorities for addressing health disparities during pregnancy and in post-partum care following the Black maternal health report, tackling the relationship between infant mortality and health inequalities, and the Government’s £50m funding for maternity disparities research outlined in the Women’s Health Strategy for England.


We are pleased to be able to include keynote sessions with: Sandy Lewis, Associate Director, Maternity Investigation Programme, Maternity and Newborn Safety Investigations; Gill Walton, Chief Executive, Royal College of Midwives; and Nicola Wise, Director for Secondary and Specialist Healthcare, Care Quality Commission.


Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • Policy: assessing and evaluating the strategic direction for improving standards and quality in maternity care
  • Inequalities: identifying and addressing causes of disparities in maternity care - next steps in driving equality in maternity care
  • Safety standards: priorities for improving the safety of maternity services - communications between services - promoting best practice - knowledge sharing - use of data - listening to patients
  • Workforce: priorities for education, training and professional development - tackling challenges for recruitment and retention - developing and maintaining positive cultures
  • Improving care: addressing inequalities in accessibility and information - mental health support - developing personalised care plans for pregnant women
  • Continuity of care and safeguarding: options for continuing care received during pregnancy - supporting new mothers - safeguarding newborns
  • Priorities going forward: quality and safety of services - improving the outlook for maternity services - safety and regulation - the future of government funding

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DHSC; DLUHC; The Scottish Government; and the Welsh Government.



Keynote Speakers

Gill Walton

Chief Executive, Royal College of Midwives

Nicola Wise

Director for Secondary and Specialist Healthcare, Care Quality Commission

Sandy Lewis

Associate Director, Maternity Investigation Programme, Maternity and Newborn Safety Investigations

Keynote Speakers

Sandy Lewis

Associate Director, Maternity Investigation Programme, Maternity and Newborn Safety Investigations

Gill Walton

Chief Executive, Royal College of Midwives

Nicola Wise

Director for Secondary and Specialist Healthcare, Care Quality Commission

Chairs

Helen Morgan MP

Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Baby Loss

Theo Clarke MP

Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Party for Birth Trauma

Speakers

Miriam Donaghy

Chief Executive Officer, MumsAid

Sian Brown

Partner, Browne Jacobson

Karen Middleton

Head of Campaigns and Policy, Maternal Mental Health Alliance

Dr Giles Thorpe

Executive Chief Nursing Officer, NHS Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board

Sandra Igwe

Chief Executive, The Motherhood Group

Dr Clea Harmer

Chief Executive, SANDS