One of NHS Resolution’s four key strategic priorities to 2025 is to collaborate to improve maternity outcomes. Our aim is to bring together key parties to see what more can be done to support the government’s maternity safety ambition to halve rates of stillbirth, neonatal and maternal death and brain injuries that occur during or shortly after birth by 2025.
One of the ways we’ve been working towards our strategic priority this financial year is by hosting a national maternity conference on Monday 28 November 2022, Collaborate to improve maternity care.
At the conference we brought together members of maternity clinical teams from across England. The conference provided an opportunity for us to demonstrate some of the work we do at NHS Resolution to support the maternity healthcare system.
We heard from a wide range of expert speakers, from NHS Resolution, Trust representatives and our strategic partners, who shared incredibly valuable insights to improve maternity care. Annette Anderson (Midwife & Head of Early Notification, Clinical) and Sangita Bodalia (Head of Early Notification, Legal) have kindly shared their reflections from the conference:
Learning from claims, the importance of the family voice, and of collaboration
It is crucial that we learn from incidents and claims, particularly from those where there has been avoidable harm. For this reason, we felt it was vital to hear the voice of the family at our conference. We heard from two parents whose children continue to be impacted by the events which occurred in the intrapartum/postnatal period. The importance of providing families with honest answers about what happened, an apology and most importantly a commitment to take action to prevent the same thing happening again, were highlighted.
At NHS Resolution we have a wealth of resources designed to support clinical colleagues to learn from claims data. This includes, for example, our upcoming maternity eLearning module, maternity case stories and national reports. We are also able to discuss themes from Early Notification cases with individual Trusts. It is essential that we continue to share learning across maternity teams, this also includes learning from when things have gone well in clinical practice.
Collaboration between all of those involved in maternity care is essential to improving standards of care.Annette Anderson, Head of Early Notification (Clinical)
Early notification and getting involved in the investigation process
The Early Notification process enables collaborative working between members of the maternity care team, senior leaders, legal advisors and medico-legal experts as well as other external stakeholders (including the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch).
We would encourage clinicians to get involved in both the learning investigation and the liability investigation process. This will enable clinicians to have a voice and ensure clinical learning as close to the incident as possible. It will also support families in getting answers to their questions earlier than if they issue a claim.
We can make liability decisions quicker using the expert summit approach. The expert summit approach allows for multiple, similar cases to be discussed at the same time. This reduces the time demands on legal and medico-legal experts and trust maternity teams.Sangita Bodalia, Head of Early Notification (Legal)
To showcase the work of trusts within maternity safety, we ran a poster competition on the day of the conference. Trusts were invited to submit a poster outlining any quality improvement projects relating to antenatal or intrapartum care. Delegates at the conference voted for the winner. The winner of the competition was London Ambulance Trust who shared their evaluation of a collaborative maternity training programme involving ambulance clinicians and midwives in London. All of the shortlisted posters are available on our website.
We are pleased that the majority of the day was recorded and is available to watch on our website. We hope this provides a useful learning resource to those working in maternity teams across the country.