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Winning projects announced for latest round of Maternity Challenge Fund

Three projects are each being awarded £50,000 by NHS England to explore innovative ways to use women’s and their partners’ feedback to improve maternity services.

A judging panel from NHS England and the Department of Health selected the winners from almost 50 applications for support from the Maternity Challenge Fund, which was set up last year to encourage new approaches to using feedback to drive improvement in the experiences of women and their families while they are receiving maternity care.

Trusts were invited to apply for funding set up to support further advances in this area, linked to the overarching ambitions of Better Births.

The winning trusts are: Gloucester Hospitals NHS Foundation TrustSouthport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust; and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The Maternity Challenge Fund last year supported projects by the maternity teams at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay and Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Outputs from those completed initiatives are being made ready for sharing later in the month with other services around the country who are interested in them.
The emphasis for this second round is on projects that continue to focus on service improvement but also address one of the following areas of potential use for patient feedback in any service:

  • Making the best use of feedback given about individual clinicians or other named staff, for example, how the Friends and Family Test or other tools for gathering patient feedback could potentially contribute to such things as revalidation of clinicians, staff recognition schemes or individual staff performance management processes.
  • Exploring the potential to attribute feedback to named patients where they choose to identify themselves, in pursuit of improving their individual care or finding out more about areas of concern.

The vision for maternity services across England is for them to become safer, more personalised, kinder, professional and more family friendly; where every woman has access to information to enable her to make decisions about her care; and where she and her baby can access support that is centred on their individual needs and circumstances.
User feedback plays a key role in understanding the actual experiences of women and their families during maternity care, from their perspective, and determining whether and how services need to improve. The Maternity Challenge Fund builds on the success of the Friends and Family Test and supports NHS England’s plans for more effective use of patient insight data.

Health Minister Philip Dunne said: “This year’s winners all showcased innovative ideas which have the potential to benefit women and their partners across the country and also help us to achieve our ambition of halving the rates of stillbirth, neonatal and maternal deaths by 2030 – making the NHS the safest place in the world to have a baby.”

Kath Evans, NHS England’s Maternity Experience of Care Lead, said: “This year’s Maternity Challenge Fund projects provide a real opportunity to explore how we can get even more value from the feedback that women and their partners give. These initiatives will explore whether, and how well, information about their experiences can be used to enhance what happens at an individual level.

“Each of these pieces of work has the potential to identify really innovative approaches that could benefit maternity services and families across the country and we’re delighted to be able to support the three trusts in putting their great ideas into practice.”

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