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Maternity units join forces to improve safety

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Maternity teams at 12 hospital trusts have formed a network to improve the safety of their services.

Staff at the units will work together to develop systematic approaches to ensuring safety then share their experience with others.

The project is led by the King’s Fund and priorities for improvement include team working and communication; staffing and training; leadership; and the use of information and guidance. It is part of the King’s Fund-led Safer Births project.

Derby foundation trust associate director for women’s and children’s services Duncan Bedford said: “Being part of the Safer Births network will mean that we can really build on our record of safety by benefitting from external expertise and advice, and share experiences with other teams around the country. This will be especially useful as we prepare for our CNST assessment in 2010.”

King’s Fund director of health care improvement Mark Jennings said: ” Our network will help frontline maternity staff exchange ideas and good practice with other units and it will give them the practical advice and support they need to improve safety.”

Royal College of Midwives general secretary Cathy Warwick said: “Improving teamwork, communication and pioneering a multi-disciplinary approach to maternity teams will be an integral part of helping maternity units implement the government’s choice guarantees for maternity care, which come into place at the end of this year.”

The participating trusts are Barts and The London trust, Derby Hospitals foundation trust, Ipswich Hospital trust, Kingston Hospital trust, Medway foundation trust, Mid Cheshire Hospitals foundation trust, Mid Essex Hospital Services trust, North Middlesex University Hospital trust, Northampton General Hospital trust, Northern Devon Healthcare trust, South Warwickshire General Hospitals trust and Stockport foundation trust.

The 12 units will have regular networking sessions, receive expert support, and use a dedicated website to exchange information.

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