MVPs Hearing All Voices

Maternity Voices Partnerships (MVPs) aim to hear from people who use local maternity services from all backgrounds and with varied perspectives and experiences of care. MVPs use themes from the feedback they collect from those who use the maternity service to continuously inform improvements to the quality of local maternity care.

Some of the key principles from MVP terms of reference are: 

  • Listening to and seeking out the voices of women, families and carers using maternity services, even when that voice is a whisper (see A promise to learn p18);
  • Having a focus on closing inequality gaps;

The All Maternity Voices guidance produced by the London MVP strategic group sets out how to find out about local maternity service users, to support developments informed by diverse voices and improve outcomes.

The ideas on our ‘Gathering Feedback’ page are helpful for planning feedback collection. 

Priority Groups 

MVPs are doing more to facilitate better representation and involvement of all who use the maternity service. Multiple reports e.g. Better Births, MBRRACE, UKOSS StudyNHS Long Term plan etc document inequalities in outcomes for women and babies from Black, Asian, and mixed ethnicity groups, those living in the most deprived areas, and those experiencing multiple disadvantages. MVPs all over the country are particularly working hard to listen to and coproduce maternity developments and improvements with families from these backgrounds and relevant community organisations.

The webinar National Maternity Voices co-created with NHSE/I about how to make MVPs safe space for all ethnicities: making sure all women, especially Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic women, can access their MVP to give feedback and shape local maternity services  is a helpful resource to support better engagement.

The recent Service User Voice Summit showcased a range of local and regional work to improve participation of more service users from Black and Asian backgrounds.

Approach: Proportionate Universalism

Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, the Chief Midwifery Officer often refers to proportionate universalism, a principle from the Marmot Review of 2010, when discussing the NHS’ approach to tacking health inequalities in the maternity service. “To reduce the steepness of the social gradient in health, actions must be universal, but with a scale and intensity that is proportionate to the level of disadvantage. We call this proportionate universalism”, wrote Sir Michael Marmot. 

And so, MVPs are committed to listening to all who use the maternity service, whatever their backgrounds; taking every step possible within budget limitations to particularly encourage participation from NHSE/I  priority groups.