Training & Resources

National Maternity Voices are in the process of putting together our own training service and are developing training packages for Maternity Voices Partnerships. This is likely to include development days, co-production workshops, mentoring and more. We hope to launch this service towards the end of 2019.

In the meantime, we list some resources and training providers who may be able to assist with training for Maternity Voices Partnerships members, professionals and service users. This could be for new Partnerships at their beginning, or established groups. Also have a look at the latest MVP training news for details of courses we have found.

National Maternity Voices does not endorse any of the training providers listed below – the list is shared to help commissioners and others with their own research into suitable providers.

  • Always ask about the experience that trainers have – for example, have they worked with MSLCs/MVPs successfully in the past?
  • Consider, too, whether you are looking for a trainer with a knowledge of care practices in maternity, and the research evidence that corresponds to that. It could be that an ‘outsider’ perspective – from outside maternity – is just what you need for your MVP, but knowledge of topics and issues in maternity is often most helpful.
  • Always ask your local PPI officer, or engagement officer, at the CCG or NHS trust for details of local courses or workshops that may be helpful too.


Ten current or former MVP service user chairs have recently undertaken mentor training with NHS England. National Maternity Voices will soon be able to offer mentoring services to MVPs so watch this space!

Training providers

NHS England:

NHS England works with a large number of Patient and Public Voice (PPV) partners. Their training offer includes Learning for NHS England PPV partners and staff working with partners (non-accredited courses and Learning for patients and the public (accredited courses).


VOICES training has now been withdrawn by NCT. However NCT VOICES have a number of free resources for MVPs to use:

NCT VOICES priority setting and workplan exercise

NCT VOICES working with MSLCs and Maternity Voices Partnerships – an assessment tool to assess progress and plan next steps

Other training providers:

Cath Broderick Director and independent consultant on Patient and Public Involvement at We Consult. An independent consultant with extensive experience in patient and public engagement, consultation, facilitation, training, and the development of statutory patient and public involvement organisations and their members. She recently made the HSJ’s list of the top 50 inspirational women in health. Cath works nationally and in Greater Manchester and the North West.

She is a member of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel and Chair of the Women’s Network, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Cath has an MSc in Strategic Leadership (Learning and Development), has an interest in change management and a background in information. She has doen work in Cumbria with maternity services, service users and commissioners following publication of the Kirkup report.

Patient and Public Involvement Solutions, founded by Jessie Cunnett in 2008, offers a wide range of PPI services, resources and support, including:

  For more information go to

‘Today, it is crucial to ensure that members of the community – whether they are service users, patients or those who live nearby – are equal partners in the delivery of health and social care services.’

Mary Newburn, Consultant, health researcher / public & parent involvement @MaryNewburn1 Mary has extensive experience of working with maternity service users, commissioners and healthcare professionals, including designing and delivering multidisciplinary training. She was co-production editor and section author (along with Gillian Fletcher) of the Maternity Voices Partnership Toolkit on this website.

Whose Shoes?® runs collaborative workshops attended by service users, commissioners and health professionals and other NHS trust staff to improve maternity care, and includes a strong presence on Twitter, with involvement in the #MatExp movement. Topics discussed on #MatExp during one day in October 2015 included birth trauma, birth after a previous caesarean, breastfeeding support, the National Maternity Review’s Birth Tank 2 event, a drugs in breastfeeding survey, a water birth conference in Yorkshire, time to act for continuity of care, and actions for ‘oxytocin October’.  Also see consultant obstetrician Florence Wilcock’s blog about how #MatExp started. on how #MatExp began


NHS Smart Guides to Engagement series for everyone working in or with clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). The guides have been written by experts to provide straightforward advice on all aspects of patient and public engagement in an easily digested format.

The guide to Working with lay members and patient representatives says:

‘The lay member is one of the people (but not the only one) who ensure the public voice of the local population is heard and that opportunities are available for PPE. But they can’t know everything. Some expect a lay member to be a total content expert (ie in how the NHS works as well as everything to do with PPE). But it is their process skills that are key. At the heart of these process skills is emotional intelligence: the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions. This includes the skills of dialogue, especially listening; identifying and working with assumptions (their own and those of others) and asking. It also involves being able to develop trusted relationships and to influence. Not easy! All leaders – professional and patient – should aspire to these qualities.’

CASP offers critical appraisal skills training workshops and tools to help people read and check health research for trustworthiness, results and relevance.

In order for MSLC members to fulfil their remit as independent advisors to the commissioners, and be more effective, it helps to be able to read and understand research studies, and critically appraise the quality of the research methodology results (evidence) and conclusions.  Workshops are offered for systematic reviews, randomised controlled trials (RCTs), ‘finding the evidence’ and qualitative studies. A whole MSLC might commission a CASP bespoke workshop for all their members. CASP Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Oxford UK

NCT Journal club is available to NCT registered maternity user reps to support reading of research and development of critical appraisal skills. This club brings together about 6-8 people via telephone to discuss an open-access research paper. The paper and relevant CASP ‘checklist’ questions are emailed a few days before the meeting. Each journal club lasts approximately one hour and is facilitated by an NCT researcher or research networker.  Local journal clubs can also be run.

DISCERN a validated methodology to assess the quality of written information on care or treatment choices. A brief online questionnaire, provides a valid and reliable way to appraise information.  Despite a rapid growth in the amount of consumer health information, the quality of the information remains variable. DISCERN can also be used by authors and publishers of information on treatment choices. It can also be used as a training tool for health professionals to improve communication and shared decision making