MVPs traditionally hold regular meetings at which the whole membership can come together to review maternity outcomes/experience data, discuss priorities, resolve issues and agree on actions. The members meet as equals and the format of the meetings aims to ensure that all members can participate equally.
Full MVP meetings are generally held at least 4 times a year. Some MVPs choose to have bi-monthly meetings (6 a year). Others may have 4 full MVP meetings and then gatherings of service user volunteers and/or feedback sessions spaced in between the formal meetings.
Traditionally, MVP meetings have been held face-to-face. During the pandemic, MVPs have held meetings online and it may be that some MVP meetings will continue to be held online in normal times where it seems more accessible for the membership.
The chair will determine the agenda for the meeting, taking into account the views of the membership. All MVP members can put forward agenda items. Standing items on the agenda are likely to include:
- Welcome and introductions. A gentle ice breaker (e.g. “tell us your name, your role, and something you’re looking forward to this weekend”) can help to get everyone contributing and communicating directly as human beings.
- Summary of feedback received by the MVP since the last meeting
- Reviewing maternity dashboards, summaries of complaints and any other regular data sources
- Update on any sub-groups/priority workstreams
- Equity: Some MVPs choose to have this as a standing agenda item so that it is a running theme throughout the MVP’s work.
- Reviewing the action log (i.e. any actions agreed at previous meetings)
- Any other business
The MVP Chair, or the Vice-chair in the Chair’s absence, will chair the meetings. Minutes may be taken by another service user member if they are remunerated for this or alternatively by a member of the MVP support team.
If your meetings are held face-to-face, holding them in a venue where you can arrange a creche will make your meetings more accessible for some parents of young children. For example, a Children’s Centre may be able to provide a suitable room and arrange a creche. However, this may need to be weighed against the benefit of holding the meeting in or near your maternity unit where busy health professionals may find it easier to attend. Some MVPs vary the location and times of meetings to enable different people to attend. You may need to experiment to see what works best in your locality. You will also want to consider the accessibility of your meeting space for wheelchair users.
Where the MVP is resourced at a level that enables a high level of service user involvement at all levels in the maternity service, there may be a decision to reduce the number of MVP meetings on the basis that the functions of the MVP are being met through ongoing regular involvement.