Improving maternity services locally

CCGs are responsible for commissioning (buying) and monitoring maternity services for local people. Following the national report Better Births, both CCGs as part of the Local Maternity System, are working with partners to review the national recommendations and identify any improvements to maternity services.

In addition to this national report, the CCGs are reviewing local maternity services following:

  • Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust (SaTH) announcing the temporary closures of midwife-led units due to staff shortages
  • The deaths of 22 babies and three mothers over the past 10 years at the Trust
  • Clinical and financial concerns raised by the Trust about the current way maternity services are delivered.

Both CCGs, working with SaTH, are committed to ensuring local services are safe, high quality and delivering the right service for local needs.

Midwife-led unit review

One of the first areas that is being considered, as part of this wider transformation, is midwife-led care. Find out how you can have your say on these services on our midwife-led services review page

How is the NHS responding to the quality concerns in maternity?

There are a number of separate reviews that have been commissioned, to help identify any learning from the quality issues raised by staff, patients and partners. 

  • SaTH has prepared a quality review report. The review looks back over the past ten years and seeks to determine the quality and safety of services, and whether the Trust has learnt from mistakes in the past.
  • Two independent reports into SaTH’s maternity services are due later in 2017. NHS Improvement, the organisation which regulates trusts, is looking at the individual investigations carried out in the past for 22 babies and three mothers, establishing learning from these. SaTH has also asked the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives to review current practice and learning in maternity services. For more information on these reports see www.sath.nhs.uk/maternityreview

These reviews look at different aspects of our maternity services, or seek independent opinion on the services. All of this learning will be considered as part of the Local Maternity System’s wider review into transforming local maternity services. 

Are the Trust’s maternity services safe? Should I continue to use them?

We would like to reassure women who use our services, or are about to. SaTH has a team of committed doctors, midwives and other health professionals who provide high quality care day in, day out, across local services. While we know there are areas for improvement, we can say:

  • Perinatal deaths (stillbirths plus early neonatal deaths under 7 days) have fallen since 2009 when it was recorded at a rate of 8.3 deaths per 1000 live births to 7.01 in 2015. The Trust recognise this is still too high and requires additional action
  • A determined effort has been made to improve cardiotocograph (CTG) monitoring (where midwives and doctors monitor foetal heartbeat before a baby is born) with significant improvements made which include regular training and investment in equipment to promote safer use and interpretation
  • Neonatal resuscitation equipment (for babies within the first 28 days of life) has been standardised across the midwife-led units to ensure all staff are familiar with the lifesaving equipment wherever they are caring for babies
  • 98.8% of mothers (who have given birth using our services) say they are likely or extremely likely to recommend the service and care they received in the Trust’s friends and family test (Feb 2017).

What do I do if I have concerns about maternity services?

Speak to your midwife or doctor if you have any concerns about the maternity care you are receiving. You can also raise any concerns to the SaTH’s Patient Advice and Liaison Service. Visit the SaTH website to find out more information https://www.sath.nhs.uk/patients-visitors/advice-support/pals/