New maternity team reviews

Date published:

As maternity services continue to feature in the news, our Practitioner Performance Advice function has launched its new maternity team review offering. The maternity team review is targeted specifically at maternity teams. It:

  • recognises the key roles that members from the multidisciplinary team play in maternity services (not just obstetricians and midwives, but also, and not exclusively, obstetric anaesthetists, neonatologists and maternity support workers);
  • uses reviewers who have specific knowledge of maternity services; and
  • comprises the potential use of focus groups, as well as questionnaires and individual interviews, to gather information.

This new maternity team review offering has been designed to play a valuable role in helping to address some of the factors that underlie problematic maternity performance in England. Numerous maternity services reviews, including the National Maternity Review in 2015, the Bill Kirkup Reading the Signals Review in 2022 and the Ockenden Maternity Review in 2022, have illustrated that the culture in a maternity service is directly related to the quality and outcomes of the service. Too many maternity service reviews have found evidence of team dysfunction, across different professional groups.

The importance of the role of the multidisciplinary team and working relationships between team members, comprising obstetricians and midwives, as well as a number of other professionals, such as obstetric anaesthetists, neonatologists and maternity support workers, cannot be understated. Issues can also arise within professional groups, for example, between midwives working in midwifery-led birth centres and those on consultant-led labour wards.

Teamwork, cooperation and positive working relationships have been identified as a key feature of safety in maternity units and, conversely, where this is not present, adverse consequence can arise from greater conflict and distrust between professional groups and a lack of investment in multidisciplinary working.

How to request a team review

Team reviews may be undertaken online virtually or on a face-to-face basis depending on what has been agreed with the commissioner of the service.  Requests for team reviews can be made by NHS employing and contracting organisations, from both primary and secondary care, as well as private healthcare organisations and health authorities in other jurisdictions.

The first step to requesting a team review is a discussion with your link adviser. Alternatively, contact nhsr.Advice@nhs.net who will put you in touch with the correct adviser.

We have recently updated the information on our website around our maternity team review offering. You can read about our team reviews, including maternity team reviews, on our team reviews page.