New maternity leadership programme launched

Hundreds of NHS maternity and neonatal leaders in England will benefit from a new £500,000 maternity leadership programme.

Patient Safety Minister Nadine Dorries has said that the £500,000 maternity leadership programme, which will be rolled out later this year, will help to train staff across 126 NHS trusts and 44 local maternity systems, equipping maternity leaders with the skills and knowledge to improve workplace culture and facilitate greater collaborative working between nurses, doctors, midwives and obstetricians.

The issue of leadership was identified as a key factor in Donna Ockenden’s independent review into cases of neglect and preventable baby deaths at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust, which highlighted the issue of disconnect between ‘ward and board’ in maternity services and the importance of multi-disciplinary training, escalating concerns to senior leaders, and applying lessons learned from serious incidents.

Last year, seven regional chief midwives were appointed to work with local maternity services to provide safer and more personal care for women, babies and their families. The new leadership programme will provide training and ongoing support for 700 people including NHS trust board safety champions, heads of midwifery, clinical directors of neonatal and clinical directors of midwifery, leaders of local maternity systems and regional chief midwives.

Dorries 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.”