Sarah Stables

Barnsley Hospital’s maternity unit has received important funding which will support the ambition of making NHS maternity services among the safest in the world; reducing the number of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths and brain injuries that occur during or soon after birth by 20% by 2020 and by 50% by 2030.

The Trust is one of the 136 NHS trusts nationwide to be granted the funding – after successfully applying in October 2016 – and will consequently implement packages of multi-disciplinary training, focussing on the key patient safety improvement areas of maternity team leadership, multi-professional team working and communication, human factors training, foetal growth and monitoring, plus midwifery, obstetric and Cardiotocography (CTG) skills and drills.

Sarah Stables, Consultant Midwife, explained what this will mean for Barnsley Hospital; “It’s rare for us to have such resources for funding and that means we will be able to focus our efforts across a variety of training for our midwives.

“Practice Facilitator Midwife, Gillian Dunning, and I worked hard in the application process and thankfully the strength of that bid has paid off.

“It is of significant benefit to the department and means we can deliver more specific training to midwives for care in labour and when dealing with emergency situations. It will also enable us to develop a midwifery led ultrasound clinic which will ultimately help to reduce waiting times for scans.”

The Midwifery department, who will conduct an audit in 12 months to gauge the effectiveness of training, will be able to invest its efforts into focussing on improved patient safety. This will take the form of improved surveillance of foetal monitoring during labour and team building as part of the innovative approaches to maternity safety training.

As one of the requirements of the funding, each Trust has committed to key actions to improve safety, including developing maternity safety improvement plans to be approved and monitored by trust boards, and appointing a maternity safety champion. In Barnsley’s case this is –Director of Nursing and Quality, Heather McNair.

Health Education England’s Maternity Safety Training Fund programme has distributed over £8m across all NHS trusts with maternity services in England, to deliver training to improve maternity safety and Barnsley is part of the North region which was awarded a proportional allocation of £2.56M from the fund to distribute across NHS trusts.

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, HEE Director of Nursing said: “I am delighted that all NHS maternity trusts have been awarded an allocation from the fund to progress their training and safety improvements, helping to make maternity services safer for mothers and babies, and enhance their care experience.”

Training programmes are due to be completed by March 2018 and HEE will commission an independent evaluation to assess how NHS trusts have improved quality and safety within maternity services and the wider impact for mothers and babies, families, and the maternity workforce.

Working with the national Maternity Transformation Programme partners, HEE is supporting the multi-professional training recommendations from the 2016 National Maternity Review report: ‘Better Births – Improving outcomes for maternity services in England’ and ensuring maternity safety education and training materials are available for maternity units across England.

HEE has committed to ensure that training supports a culture of continuous learning and improvement in safe services, with a focus on reducing the rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternity deaths and other adverse outcomes such as sepsis and intrapartum brain injuries.