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New £500,000 NHS Maternity Programme

Posted on January 2021 By Jamie Southwell

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​Patient Safety Minister, Nadine Dorries, announces a new £500,000 NHS maternity leadership programme to address Ockenden review recommendations. Funding will benefit many maternity and neonatal leaders across over a hundred different NHS Trusts.

The programme was launched in response to an independent investigation by Donna Ockenden, in which she declared there to be cases of neglect and preventable baby deaths at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.

Ockenden is a midwife who was commissioned in 2016 by then Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to carry out the review into the Trust. She described there to be a disconnect between “ward and board”, stating the requirement of multi-disciplinary training, pushing problems to senior leaders, and applying knowledge from serious incidents.

Allocations of the £500,000 funding will be split across 126 Trusts and 44 local maternity sites later in 2021. Benefitting and providing on-going support for 700 NHS staff including maternity safety champions, heads of midwifery, clinical directors of neonatal, clinical directors of midwifery, leaders of local maternity systems, and regional chief midwives.

Its purpose is to ensure maternity staff are equip with the skills and knowledge they require to boost workplace culture and allow for more efficient communication between nurses, doctors, midwives, and obstetricians. The training the scheme will provide is based on lessons learned both from the pandemic and the Ockenden review amongst other maternity safety inquiries.

When discussing the new programme, Patient Safety Minister said: “The shocking and tragic findings of the Ockenden Review highlighted the importance of strengthening maternity leadership and oversight as well as fostering more collaborative approaches within maternity and neonatal services.

I’m pleased to announce a new training programme for NHS maternity leaders, which will empower nurses, midwives and obstetricians to get the best out of their teams, and deliver safe, world-class care to mothers and their babies.”

In addition to the scheme, the Maternity Transformation Programme is working with professional organisations, clinicians, and service users to create a singular core curriculum for those working in maternity and neonatal services. It will help to address variations in skills and safety training throughout England for staff moving between services and Trusts.