Local people to benefit from new plans to improve maternity services

Local people in Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest are set to benefit from improved maternity services, after local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) were selected as ‘Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneers’ by NHS England. 

As one of seven areas selected nationwide, local health organisations in east London will work with NHS England to develop and test new approaches for improving maternity care, and promote their national adoption. 

Some of the work includes setting up a helpline, providing more access to local information and making contact with women at each stage of pregnancy to offer advice and support. 

One example of the innovative new approach to maternity services involves the use of neighbourhood midwives, who work as a social enterprise alongside existing services. 

NHS Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group (WFCCG) is the lead commissioner for the maternity pioneer work. Chief Officer Terry Huff said: “It is fantastic to have this national recognition that here in east London we are determined to improve maternity services for patients. 

“As a result of the work we are doing, women will feel better supported through their pregnancy and have a better experience, and many more will be able to choose to give birth with the support of a midwife rather than a doctor.” 

The maternity pioneer scheme is aligned with the local Transforming Services Together (TST) programme, which aims to improve the local health and social care economy in Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. 

Maternity lead for the TST programme Kate Brintworth said: “We are working really hard with neighbouring boroughs, service providers and local people to continually improve maternity services – becoming a national pioneer site will help us to drive this work forward. Different elements of healthcare services joining forces means we can become greater than the sum of our parts.” 

Claire Hogg, Strategic Programme Director for Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “Barts Health is really pleased to be involved in the national maternity pioneer work with our local commissioners. It supports the work we are already doing across our maternity services to improve continuity of care for women, help them build personal relationships with our midwives and obstetricians, and support them to make informed choices about their place of birth”.