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Making a positive impact on maternity and neonatal care

As part of our patient safety work in North West London (NWL), Imperial College Health Partners (ICHP) supports maternity and neonatal colleagues with their improvement ambitions through our local delivery of a national NHS programme. To mark the International Day of the Midwife, ICHP colleagues Omid Nivi and Lewis Thomas share more about their work in this space. 

Improving maternity and neonatal services nationally  

The Maternity and Neonatal Safety Improvement Programme (MatNeoSIP) is funded by NHS England and delivered by Patient Safety Collaboratives, hosted by Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) across the country. In North West London (NWL), we at ICHP deliver the programme in partnership with our region’s maternity and neonatal units. 

The programme aims to strengthen the safety, outcomes and patient experience of maternal and neonatal services through quality improvement for all women, babies and families across maternity and neonatal care settings in England. Specifically, by 2025, we aim to: 

  • Reduce the rates of maternal and neonatal deaths, stillbirths, and brain injuries that occur during or soon after birth by 50%. 
  • Reduce the national rate of preterm birth from 8% to 6%, and reduce the rate of stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries that occur during or soon after birth. 

In NWL, reducing these rates will make a positive impact for women, babies and their families, as well as improving our broader population health. 

Safety initiatives start with safe spaces 

Maternity services across the country are responding to the recent Ockenden report, which highlighted a series of recommendations for maternity care following an independent review of services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.  

Elevating safety relies on empowering individuals to continuously grow and improve as individuals and teams; our Patient Safety Network (PSN) – an open group of colleagues working in maternity and neonatal services across NWL – is an essential forum for this. This is a space where staff can share their experiences, improvement ambitions and collaborate on service delivery, patient experience and future plans.  

Having already established and grown our own MatNeoSIP PSN, we’ve recently been working to connect our ambitions across the capital and – alongside our fellow London AHSNs UCL Partners and the Health Innovation Network – have launched a Pan-London MatNeoSIP Network to bring together colleagues from across our city who are passionate about positive change. 

The midwives, obstetricians, neonatologists and paediatricians who we have had the pleasure of working with over the years have shown themselves to be relentlessly committed to patient-centred improvement and have utilised these spaces to share and build on each other’s improvement ambitions.  

Creating a learning network for maternity and neonatal colleagues across the city 

Our first Pan-London MatNeoSIP Network Event took place last month in April, sharing expertise and learning across maternity and neonatal units, celebrating successes and inspiring future efforts. 

The speakers from across the city shared their work on many different topics, from optimisation of care for preterm births to health inequalities, whilst the event finished with a panel discussion on addressing the challenges of improvement in difficult circumstances. A number of innovative practices were shared across the day, including presentations by a number of NWL colleagues: 

  • Dr Devangi Thakkar, Consultant Paediatrician at The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Dr Jamie Shah (ST4) spoke about the importance of delayed cord clamping and shared the successes of their own quality improvement project so far. 
  • Dr Nishel Shah, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, shared his work leading a preterm birth training package in NWL covering factors around prediction, prevention and preparation. 
  • Ms Sabrina Das, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, joined the panel discussion to share her candid views on pursuing improvement efforts in challenging contexts and facilitated discussion with colleagues in attendance. 

The virtual event was well attended with over 110 colleagues joining, demonstrating the passion to learn and collaborate of our London maternal and neonatal teams, as well as their commitment to patient safety. 

Get involved 

As we begin the 2022/23 financial year, we are working closely with senior maternity and neonatal colleagues throughout NWL to ensure that we continue to maximise our impact in the local health system. ICHP will continue to co-host the Pan-London MatNeoSIP Network events twice annually, as well as leading our own NWL MatNeoSIP Patient Safety Network every quarter with the next meeting on 26th May from 3:30pm to 5:00pm

If you’d be interested in joining these events or learning more about our work, please email Omid Nivi

You can find out more about NHS England’s MatNeoSIP work on their website