Free accredited training – Understanding the Health and Social Care Environment

Places are available on the Understanding the Health and Social Care Environment (UHSCE) online training course, which is accredited by Certa. The course is divided into three sections: about the stakeholders, about tools and methods for influencing health and social care, and about how you can present your community issues to have maximum impact for positive change. There are two rounds of the course starting on 04 September 2018 and 06 November 2018.

The course ends with a full day of assessed presentations accordingly on 27 November 2018 (for the course starting on 04 September) and on 5 February 2019 (for the course starting on 06 November). The final day gives participants an opportunity to share their projects they have been working on as part of the course, gather practical advice on how to develop their work further, and to network.

The training received excellent feedback from volunteers who participated in previous cohorts. Take a look at the course advert (110KB PDF) outlining what the course will cover and application form (875KB PDF). For more information about the course and how to apply please email: or

There is further information on learning and development and learning for patients and the public (accredited courses) from NHS England.


On the 70th birthday of the NHS, a message from Lisa Ramsey, Service User Voice Policy Manager for the Maternity Transformation Programme at NHS England, who works closely with our national committee on supporting Maternity Voices Partnerships.

“It’s Thursday 5th July and today marks the 70th birthday of the NHS.  We all see improvements that could be made to the NHS, but today is all about celebrating all that is great about the National Health Service.  We are celebrating the mere fact it exists. Having an NHS means when your child has fallen and bumped their head you have 111 to call for advice, when you need help in an emergency you can head to A&E and when you have something you need to see a GP about you can.  The NHS is all of ours to use as sparingly as we can.

How fortunate that #NHS70 is falling mid-way through a 5 year maternity transformation programme.  Maternity care is being transformed across England to become kinder, safer and more personalised. That means looking after maternity staff well and ensuring they train together and work well together. It also means ensuring every woman has the opportunity to know and trust her midwife and see the same midwife throughout her maternity journey.  It means families are prioritised, not just women or babies and everyone’s mental and emotional health are important as well as physical health. It means the experience of being pregnant, giving birth in the place you choose and feeding and caring for a new baby is as important as health.

So today, find someone to have a cuppa with and tweet yourselves to celebrate #NHS70!”

Better Births Two Years on event

National Maternity Voices (NMV) are delighted to be part of the Better Births Two Years on event this Tuesday (27th March 2018) at The Midland hotel Manchester.

Come and find us at the ‘Market Place’ which is running over lunch between 13:00 and 14:15 in the Octagon lounge and Trafford suite. Look out for our pop-up banner and come and say hello if you want to find out more about how Maternity Voices Partnerships (MVPs) can and should be at the heart of Better Births!

We will also be holding a series of pop up talks during lunch in the Midland lounge. NMV committee members Cathy Brewster and Emma Crookes will be talking about what newly formed Maternity Voices Partnerships (MVPs) need to get going at 13:45-13:55 followed by Sandra Guise and Laura James discussing what established MVPs can achieve at 14:00-14:10.

The Better Births 2 years on event will also see the launch of the 15 Steps Challenge for Maternity developed by Lisa Ramsey of NMV in her role as Service User Voice Policy Manager for Maternity at NHS England. The Fifteen Steps for Maternity toolkit is designed especially for use by Maternity Voices Partnerships (MVPs).  These local teams of service users, midwives, doctors and commissioners can use the toolkit to enhance collaborative working so that together improvements to maternity services can be identified and delivered.

A message from Kath Evans

Hello my name is Kath, and I work to improve experiences of care in  maternity, infants, children and young people’s care at NHS England.

Maternity Services are I believe ‘pace setters’ in true collaboration with the public to enhance the quality of care. Maternity Services Liaison Committees (MSLCs) date from around 1984 and the Health and Social Care Act of 2012 mandated a requirement of collaboration with the public for all areas across the NHS.

In maternity care, colleagues such as Mary Newburn, Gillian Fletcher, Catherine Williams, Lisa Ramsay and Laura James along with many others have ensured that information on  developing Maternity Voices Partnerships (MVPs) which build on the successes of MSLCs, is included in the maternity commissioning resource document published by NHS England  Chapter 4 and 5 of the resource clearly outlines the importance of Maternity Voices Partnerships (MVPs),  it shares how collaborating with the local community can enhance the quality of services by achieving safer and better experiences through the delivery of effective interventions which are led by women, their partners and health care professionals. Everyone has a part to play.

Getting started in co-production can however be a bit daunting, especially if a Local Maternity System (LMS) doesn’t currently have a well-functioning MSLC to draw on so its important to share best practice and prevent reinvention of wheels. The range of resources here on the National Maternity Voices site has been developed by people with lots of experience for Local Maternity Systems to use and develop, they are a useful guide – importantly if you have something better please do share it so that we can continue to grow and develop these resources.

There are also a range of publications and resources that may help to drive improvement programmes in maternity experience that may be helpful too – which you can find on the links page here.

So some top tips from what we’re learnt so far, but you’ll have many more to add!

  1. Scope current MSLC/MVP arrangements
  2. Identify local charities to work with e.g. SANDS, NCT
  3. Tap into local health care professionals such as health visitors, special needs health visitors, children’s centres and other community organisations who will have intelligence about local women’s networks targeting this population
  4. Tap into ‘seldom heard’ groups via local community intelligence such as HealthWatch
  5. Where there are vulnerable communities connect with local house associations who will be able to help connect to specific groups.
  6. Be prepared to ‘go to’ women, families mother/father & baby sessions rather than expecting them to go to you.
  7. Spend time in antenatal & postnatal clinics having conversations with families.

Ensure challenges/programmes of improvement work are co-produced as this ensures the programme is ‘owned’ by all from the outset (rather than imposed) and energy is harnessed for improvement.

Working together is really energising, and whilst of course it takes organising and time, it does deliver great results!

Kath Evans, Experience of Care Lead, Maternity, Infants, Children & Young People, NHS England

RGN, RSCN, MSc (Nursing), PG Dip (Education), BSc (Hons), PG Dip (Management), Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Accredited Coach. 

 Kath is a registered general and children’s nurse and her career has included clinical, educational, managerial and service improvement roles. She is Experience of Care Lead for Maternity, Infants, Children and Young People at NHS England where she is committed to ensuring the voice of children, young people, families/carers and maternity service users are heard in their care and in the design, delivery and commissioning of services.  Kath is a keen user of social media (@KathEvans2) to connect with communities to inform programmes of work and is a Health Care Ambassador for Save the Children.

 Email:    Twitter: @kathevans2