In December, the Ockenden review of neonatal deaths and other harm at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust published an interim report. We feel deeply for everyone involved in the events described and hope that improvements in maternity care across England will come from this review.
Ms Ockenden states it is ‘imperative that family voices are strongly and effectively represented in each LMS (Local Maternity System) through the Maternity Voices Partnerships.’
We believe that, in order for this to happen:
- MVPs need to be supported at senior level in both provider trusts and commissioners.
- MVP Chairs and service user representatives need to be valued as critical friends, and staff need to feel safe to talk candidly to them.
- All members of MVPs should be alert for signs of insensitive or dismissive responses to families.
- Obstetricians and commissioners must be active in the MVP, alongside service users, midwives, and other key professionals.
- More resources (staff support, training and budget) are urgently needed for MVPs.
The respectful multidisciplinary collaboration at the heart of a well functioning MVP can help to build a culture of personalised and safe care. MVPs should also co-produce work to support truely informed decision making for service users.
The potential of Maternity Voices Partnerships to drive change is only just starting to be realised. Resourcing MVPs is an investment in assisting culture change and improving care which can have benefits many times the value of the budget.
Here is a more detailed review of the report in relation to MVPs.