A new independent maternity working group, one of the key Immediate and Essential Actions (IEAs) from the Ockenden review of maternity safety, has met for the first time. The group, which is co-chaired by Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), and Dr Eddie Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG), will provide guidance to the NHS England’s Maternity Transformation Programme.
The Maternity Transformation Programme (MTP) has a vital role in delivering good, safe maternity care wherever and whenever it is provided. This new Independent Maternity Working Group, led by professionals that know and understand how maternity services work and how they can best be improved, will help to provide focus on the elements which can deliver the most impact, safely, quickly and effectively.
The role of the independent maternity working group is to review the MTP’s assessment of how it will deliver against the IEAs set out in the Ockenden Review and to advise on how those may be refined. The group, which will also include representatives from the Royal Colleges of Paediatrics & Child Health and Anaesthetists, the Obstetric Anaesthetists Association and the British Association of Perinatal Medicine, will meet monthly and is expected to hear from NHS England in October about the progress made so far.
Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Every midwife, maternity support worker, obstetrician and anaesthetist wants to provide good quality care to women and families. Sadly, in too many maternity services, there are obstacles to that, from too few staff to poor workplace cultures. As the country’s largest professional association representing midwives and MSWs, we understand this only too well – but we also understand how to remove or at least minimise those obstacles. We can act as a critical friend to those delivering the Maternity Transformation Programme, and advise on the best steps to ensure that women and families can be assured of good, safe maternity care, wherever they access it.”
Dr Eddie Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, added: “The Independent Maternity Working Group (IMWG) was one of the key recommendations in the Ockenden report and very much welcomed by the RCOG. Alongside our Co-Chairs, the RCM, we are fully committed to making sure the IMWG successfully advises the Maternity Transformation Programme on its plans for achieving improvements in maternity care through existing and new activities. This will be done in partnership with other experts in maternity and neonatal care, including frontline clinicians and service user representatives, whose voices are absolutely essential.”
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