Maternity Pilot – Personalisation pioneers for Birmingham and Solihull

Exciting news regarding Maternity services in the West Midlands has just been published.

In March, NHS England invited local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) across the country to register their interest in becoming “pioneers” of maternity choice and personalisation, implementing the recommendations of the National Maternity review (now called Better Births).

The review highlighted the need to improve women’s experiences of maternity care, offering them more choice and personalised care, whilst ensuring women experienced safer care overall.

The letter sent to all CCG’s stated:-

Key elements of pioneers’ work will be:

1. Widening choice across CCG boundaries – clusters of CCGs working together to establish service specifications and accredit new providers….. offering women more choice of providers to meet their needs and preferences.

2. Empowering women to take control – developing and implementing arrangements for women to take control when deciding who provides the services they wish to access.

3. Enabling women to make decisions – developing and implementing additional ways of enabling women, from all sections of society, to make decisions and choices about their maternity care.

As Chair of my local MSLC (Maternity Services Liaison Committee) I was thrilled to hear on Wednesday that Birmingham and Solihull had been chosen.

The local units that are included in the pioneer are:- Birmingham Women’s Hospital, Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital, Solihull Hospital and women giving birth at home.

The following statement was made on the 18th of May, announcing the winners of the bid:-

Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneers

“Pregnant women living within the pioneer areas will be offered a personal budget and will be able to use it to make choices for each of three stages of the pathway – antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care.

This means a woman will have a wider choice of who provides the maternity care she would prefer, such as a birthing pool, specialisation in teenage, older, first time mothers, or a provider with a good reputation for breastfeeding support.

NHS England and other partners will work with the pioneers to develop and test new approaches which can then be rolled out nationally.”

Baroness Julia Cumberledge who led NHS England’s independent Maternity Review, said: “Congratulations to the seven pioneers who have seized the moment to demonstrate the worth of Personal Maternity Care Budgets, giving more choice to expectant mothers and their families. By being put in control of where the budget is spent, women will have more power to ensure their decisions for their baby’s birth and care are respected and implemented.”

We are yet to fully understand how these powers will be offered and implemented, but let’s hope that women have an option to spend their “money” on Doulas, Independent Midwives, and complementary pregnancy therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractors, reflexology or massage therapies – and of course we would love to see a wider range of couples accessing in depth antenatal classes to help prepare them for life beyond birth!

The next year promises to be very exciting and we can’t wait to see what the Birmingham and Solihull Midwives are able to achieve in this exciting chapter!



Beautiful photo by :- Little Beanies Photography



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