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RCOG release: New NHS England Women's Health Patient Safety Expert Group starts today

News 13 March 2014

Today is the first meeting of the new NHS England Women's Health Patient Safety Expert Group hosted by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), which aims to improve safety for women and their babies receiving care across the UK.

NHS England is developing Patient Safety Expert Groups to provide senior clinical advice to the commissioning system to support NHS England’s priorities in patient safety.

The RCOG will host this new group and provide administrative support for meetings. The group will raise the profile of patient safety in women’s health and ensure effective multidisciplinary effort is focussed on improving patient safety for women and their families receiving NHS funded care.

The purpose of the group is to improve the culture and safety for women and their babies by informing NHS England about national priorities for patient safety in women’s health, making proposals on how these priorities can be taken forward, providing clinical advice to the commissioning system, and providing high level leadership and identifying the most appropriate methods of communication and dissemination of information.

The group will be UK wide and membership will include representation from the RCOG, Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, the Obstetric Anaesthetists' Association, patient representatives, a representative Strategic Clinical Network and the National Clinical Director for Maternity and Women’s Health.

This new group will carry on the work from the existing RCOG’s Safety and Quality Committee but have a wider remit and a bigger membership.

An NHS England overarching steering group will raise the patient safety expert groups’ awareness of NHS England’s priorities in patient safety and to consider and approve, as appropriate, the priorities identified by the expert groups.

Chair of the new Women's Health Patient Safety Expert Group, Mr Tim Hillard, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This new group will pull together the existing expertise at the RCOG and NHS England extending out to all our health professional colleagues working in women’s health. It will cover a wider area which will lead to a multi-disciplinary approach to improving the safety and quality of women’s healthcare across the UK.

“Patient safety is at the heart of everything we do and it is essential that high quality care is safe, clinically effective and enhances the experience of all patients. High quality care includes following best practice through clinical standards and guidelines and multidisciplinary team working.”

Catherine Calderwood, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Maternity and Women’s Health, said:

“Patient safety is a priority for NHS England and this group will focus on improving safety and reducing avoidable harm across women's healthcare.

“NHS England is very pleased to be working with Royal Colleges, clinical experts and patient representatives on this newly formed women's health patient safety expert group.”

Professor Alan Cameron, RCOG Vice President Clinical Quality, welcomes this new group. He added:

“The RCOG is delighted to be hosting this new group focusing on the totality of women’s health.

Patient safety needs to be embedded into everyone’s daily practice and we must ensure that it is core in the practice and thinking of all trainees and specialists in obstetrics and gynaecology.”

Cath Broderick, Chair of the RCOG’s Women’s Network, welcomes the input from women and patient representatives. She said:

“When we hear from women about their health, care or treatment we know that safety is a high priority for them. The new group is an important part of developing high quality safe care for women and we are delighted that one of our members will be working with other lay members to make sure that the needs and concerns of women are at the heart of the group's work.”


For further information, please contact the RCOG Media and PR team on +44 20 7772 6300 or email