BirtHWays Newsletter Edition 1: Feb 2019

Continuity of Carer model launched across the two counties

A new model of care which aims to ensure that more women see their named midwife, or a midwife from a small team, right through their pregnancy journey has been launched across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The new Continuity of Carer model means that women will have continuity of the person and team looking after them during their maternity journey, before, during and after the birth. This continuity of care and relationship between care giver and receiver has been proven to lead to better outcomes and safety for the woman and baby, as well as offering a more positive and personal experience.

The pilot – which has started at Hereford County Hospital and the Meadow Birth Centre at Worcestershire Royal Hospital, and will be rolled out in Delivery Suite at Worcester in February – will initially offer the opportunity for a small percentage of the two counties’ women to benefit from Continuity of Carer. Plans are in place to increase the number of women cared for within the model in the near future.

Under the new model, Midwives will book women and care for them throughout their journey through our maternity unit and in the postnatal period.

Judy Lane, Meadow Birth Centre Manager, said: “Continuity of Carer forms a key part of Better Births – the report of the National Maternity Review – which set out a vision for maternity services in England which are safe and personalised; that put the needs of the women, her baby and family at the heart of care; with staff who are supported to deliver high quality care which is continuously improving.

“We’ve listened and learned to what our local mums have been telling us and I’m really proud that the Meadow Birth Centre team are leading the way in rolling this out in Worcester. The launch has been the result of a lot of hard work from maternity staff and we’re really looking forward to hearing the feedback from the first mums who are cared for as part of this new model.”

Helen Price, Deputy Director of Midwifery at Wye Valley NHS Trust, said: “In Hereford the pilot is offering the opportunity for approximately 15 – 20 per cent of the county’s women to benefit from the Continuity Team Initiative and receive care from midwives known to them in the antenatal, birth and postnatal period.

“During the pilot phase women will be invited to join the Continuity Team Initiative through a risk selection process. It is our intention that all women remaining in the current model of care during the pilot, continue to receive the current high standard of continuity of routine antenatal care.”


Funding improvements in maternity care

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Local Maternity System is delighted to have helped develop funding applications for our partners to support improvements in maternity and neonatal care. We have been awarded £634,000 in recent months for services across the two counties.

After a successful bid to the STP IT fund, Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust will receive approximately £600,0000 to introduce a new electronic maternity record for women and staff. Work will soon begin on implementing the system, which should be up and running in around 18 months.

We have also been awarded £25,000 for the Maternity Workforce Transformational Fund from Health Education England. This money will fund workshops, training and development for maternity staff across a range of areas, including perinatal mental health and birth trauma and debriefing. In addition, Health Education England, has granted £9,000 for training especially focused on the newly formed Continuity of Carer teams across the LMS.

Christobel Hargraves, Chair of the LMS said: “We are thrilled to have been successful in our bids for this substantial funding which will ensure we can enable access to electronic maternity records for women and maternity staff, as well as funding will help increase the range of skills for our midwifery staff to help us support women, babies and their families during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal time.

“What a great start to the new year!”

Successful Whose Shoes events held

 Maternity ‘Whose Shoes’ events have been successfully held across both counties to look at experience of maternity services from the perspective of both families and maternity, health visiting and perinatal health staff.

Using lively facilitators and tools such as a board game incorporating key questions, the relaxed and inclusive workshops enabled participants to

Openly discuss key local issues with hospital staff at all levels

  • Identify the things that needed to change and understand why change mattered
  • Agree how changes should be made
  • Pledge to make the changes agreed

Christobel Hargraves, Chair of the LMS, said: “Both events were really well attended and it was great to hear the views of so many mums and staff about what matters to them when we are planning improvements in maternity services.

“The events helped us challenge assumptions, and focus on treating women and their families with dignity, compassion and respect.

“We will now be collecting all of the feedback and incorporating this into our future planning.”

BirtHWays website launched

A new website which signposts women to maternity services and support across the LMS footprint has been launched. has been developed in partnership between mums and maternity staff across the LMS to bring maternity services across the two counties together in one place for the first time.

Christobel Hargraves, Chair of the LMS, said: “BirtHWays aims to find support and information to improve the maternity journey for our mums and families across the two counties. As well as signposting to services and support, it includes real birth stories from local mums, the latest news from our maternity departments and details on how to get involved in shaping maternity services. We’re looking forward to continuing to develop the content in line with women’s needs into the future. ”

LMS posters available

Two new posters have been produced to promote the work of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Local Maternity System and make it easier for staff and patients to understand how care for pregnant women and babies will continue to be improved over the coming years.

The patient facing poster also includes details of our two Maternity Voices Partnerships and how women can get involved and have their say on the shape of their local maternity services.

The posters have been distributed across the maternity departments at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and Wye Valley NHS Trust and are also available to download here Click here to download PDF

If you would like further copies, please contact

Long Term Plan sets out ambitions for maternity service

The NHS Long Term Plan was published at the start of the year, and includes  ambitions for ensuring maternity services are fit for the future.

The Plan outlines a push to build on the aims already set out in previous plans such as Better Births, and broaden the focus of the NHS in this area in the next five and 10 years.

This includes accelerating action to achieve 50% reductions in stillbirth, maternal mortality, neonatal mortality and serious brain injury by 2025; most women receiving continuity of the person caring for them during pregnancy, during birth and postnatally, by March 2021;  rolling out the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle across every maternity unit in England; and increasing access to evidence-based care for women with moderate to severe perinatal mental health difficulties and a personality disorder diagnosis.

The full plan is available at

Mums praise maternity services in CQC Maternity Survey 2018

Findings from the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) national survey of women who gave birth in February last year show that many had a good experience of maternity services in Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The findings, published on January 29, highlight women’s views on all aspects of their maternity care from the first time they saw a clinician or midwife, during labour and birth, through to the care provided at home in the weeks following the arrival of their baby.

Both hospitals were rated better than the majority of Trusts in a number of key areas. At Worcester this included partner involvement and length of stay in hospital after birth, while in Hereford this included receiving information and explanations, reasonable response times after birth, concerns being taken seriously, and length of hospital stay.

The full results for both Trusts can be found by clicking here

Successful Saving Babies Lives Study Days

More than 100 staff working across maternity services in Herefordshire and Worcestershire attended two successful Saving Babies’ Lives study days. The events were an opportunity for staff to hear from local and regional experts on a range of topics from smoking cessation, detecting and responding to fetal growth restriction, ensuring fetal wellbeing and support following bereavement.

Fay Baillie, LMS lead, said: “Both events were extremely well attended and provided a great opportunity for staff working across maternity services to get up to date with the fantastic work that is taking place to contribute to the Saving Babies Lives agenda across our two counties.”

“For anyone who was unable to attend, we filmed all of the speakers and their presentations are available to watch, and share with colleagues, here.”

Website by Seismik
Herefordshire & Worcestershire
Local Maternity and Neonatal System