NHS to introduce new measures to improve the safety of maternity care

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The NHS is to introduce new measures to make giving birth safer, including maternity safety funding and publishing maternity ratings.

The safer maternity care action plan was announced by Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, and is designed to dramatically improve the safety of maternity care in the NHS.

The new measures will include £8 million funding for multi-disciplinary training, with at least £40,000 available for each NHS trust in England. A new £250,000 maternity safety innovation fund will also be formed to help create and pilot new ideas for improving maternity care.

Maternity ratings for every clinical commissioning group (CCG) will also be published, in the hope of raising standards and giving families better information about the quality of local maternity services.

Speaking of the new initiative, Jeremy Hunt said, “Our NHS maternity staff do a fantastic job under huge pressure.”

“But even though we have made much progress, our stillbirth rates are still amongst the highest in Western Europe and many on the frontline say there is still too much of a blame culture when things go wrong – often caused by fear of litigation or worry about damage to reputation and careers.”

“These comprehensive measures will give practical support to help trusts improve their approach to safety – and help to foster an open and transparent culture so that courts become a last resort not an automatic first step.”

“By learning from proven methods in countries like Sweden we hope to achieve a dramatic reduction in the number of tragedies where babies are lost or injured in life.”

The care plan comes as the Department of Health has launched a new campaign to maximise women’s chances of having safer pregnancies.

The Our Chance campaign, developed with charities Best Beginnings and Sands, gives parents the knowledge and confidence to maximise their chances of healthy outcomes for themselves and their babies.

Women and their families will be able to learn how to look after themselves and their babies and find support through the Our Chance website and the Best Beginnings Baby Buddy app.

Speaking about the Our Chance campaign, Hunt continued, “The loss of any baby or new mum is a tragedy.”

“We want any NHS hospital to be one of the safest places in the world to have a baby.”

“By making sure women are aware of the small changes they can make or the signs to look out for, they can increase their chances of a healthy pregnancy.”

“The new campaign is a game-changing moment and will help us halve the rates of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths and brain injuries occurring during or soon after birth by 2030.”

Alison Baum, CEO at Best Beginnings, said, “We are so proud to be jointly leading the ground-breaking Our Chance initiative with Sands and thanks to support from the Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England.”

“We’d like to thank all the parents, charities and health professionals who helped to create the Our Chance films and are now supporting the campaign.”

“I set up Best Beginnings to reduce child health inequalities across the UK. Best Beginnings created our free Department of Health-endorsed Baby Buddy app to enable parents of all ages and backgrounds to look after their own mental and physical health and to maximise the chances of their children having a healthy and happy start.”

About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.
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