A Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) is a NHS working group: a team of women and their families, commissioners and providers (midwives and doctors) working together to review and contribute to the development of local maternity care.
It is multidisciplinary in nature and works in partnership with all its members. As well as monitoring services, it should be involved in the coproduction of maternity services, in line with the Better Births resource pack. It should be chaired by a current service user or (non-clinician) service user advocate.
Chapter 4 of the Better Births resource pack (Coproduction with women and their families) https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/nhs-guidance-maternity-services-v1-print.pdf states that the “maternity commissioner is responsible for facilitating and organising any agreed funding”. Ch 4 pg. 18
Further London Clinical Network guidance http://www.londonscn.nhs.uk/publication/effective-co-production-through-local-maternity-voices-partnerships-a-resource-for-commissioners/ is available and includes useful templates and funding principles.
The maternity commissioner is responsible for organising the funding and different areas will adopt different ways of ensuring funding is accessible. One of the simplest ways is for the MVP to hold its own community bank account (these are relatively straightforward to set up) or in some areas the CCG or Trust will hold the budget (which should be ringfenced for the MVP).
Annex B – Core principles for terms of reference for a Maternity Voices Partnership (p.57) of the Better Births resource pack states “The chair must have autonomy and be able to work as a critical friend, so election by the members (of the MVP) is best practice. This becomes easier when there is a history of public service in maternity voices partnerships locally, with succession planning”. If there is no chair in post, existing MVP members should remain as fully involved as much as possible, with the CCG or LMS giving necessary support to assist in recruiting a lay chair.
A role description for an MVP chair can be found here http://nationalmaternityvoices.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/MVP-chair-role-description.pdf. , The role of the chair encompasses more than chairing meetings, they are generally viewed as the lynchpin or main coordinator of the MVPs activities. It is suggested that MVP chairs receive the £150/day ‘expert advisor’ PPV rate in line with NHSE policy https://www.england.nhs.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2017/08/patient-and-public-voice-partners-expenses-policy-oct-17.pdf for between 2- 5 days a month MVP work.
It is best practice for a chair or chairs to be service users. These could be either current service users (i.e. women who are pregnant or have recently had a baby) or service user advocates (women who are not health care professionals, who may have had children a while ago, but who regularly come into contact with women currently using the service. These include doulas, antenatal or postnatal leaders etc. These women are often invaluable as they may have developed more service knowledge and service user advocate experience and developed from current service users, they may also have time to commit to attending wider range of meetings and have developed a understanding of the strategic role that the MVP can play in the Local Maternity System. Ideally, a MVP benefits from a mix of current service users and more experienced service user advocates to function at its full potential.
Being on social media is invaluable. Set up a Facebook group and a Twitter page and have a generic email address (e.g. email@example.com) so that addresses can stay the same if a chair moves on. Best practice is to have two admins on any social media account.
Once you have social media accounts and an email address, get your MVP on National Maternity Voices map http://nationalmaternityvoices.org.uk/toolkit-for-mvps/find-an-mvp/ so that HCPs and women can find you.
Introduce yourself to the Communication managers in local Trusts and CCG and seek their assistance in raising profile of the local MVP.
There are numerous ways that feedback can be gathered from local families:
These include, Walk the Patch of the local maternity unit, community visits of playgroups or health visitor clinics (with appropriate permission), focused coffee mornings, online surveys etc etc.
See http://nationalmaternityvoices.org.uk/toolkit-for-mvps/gathering-feedback/ for more information.
This will vary across England. Full MVP meetings should be held no fewer than 4 times a year. Some MVPs choose to have bi-monthly meetings (6 a year). Others may have 4 full MVP meetings and then meetings of service user volunteers and/or feedback meetings spaced in between the formal meetings.
Yes! There is a UK wide closed Facebook group for ‘MVP’ (England) and ‘MSLC’ (rest of the UK) chairs and service users here https://www.facebook.com/groups/MaternityServiceUserReps/ offering vital peer support.
There is also a multidisciplinary Facebook group for anyone interested in or involved with MVPs here www.facebook.com/groups/NationalMaternityVoices
Regions may also have their own networks e.g. London MVP network, West Midlands Maternity Service User Reps, Maternity Voices Greater Manchester and Eastern Cheshire network. with others emerging constantly.