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Toolkit aims to help maternity staff improve safety

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A toolkit for improving safety in maternity services has been launched by the King’s Fund with the backing of the Royal College of Midwives.

The health thinktank said the safer birth toolkit offered practical resources to “help staff improve safety in maternity care”.

It is organised around five key areas for improvement in maternity care: teamworking; communication; training; information and guidance; staffing and leadership.

The King’s Fund launched an independent inquiry into the safety of maternity services in 2006. The report from that inquiry, Safe Births: Everybody’s business, made a series of recommendations about how the safety of maternity care could be improved.

Building on those recommendations, the thinktank – in partnership with organisations including the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the Royal College of Midwives – launched the Safer Births Improvement Programme.

It provided customised support to 12 multidisciplinary maternity teams in England. The new toolkit shares the experiences and lessons from those teams.

The fund said: “The challenges facing maternity teams are likely to increase with the financial pressures on the NHS. However, many of the changes described here do not need additional funding. They need time and commitment, leadership and some knowledge.

“The tips and tools in this resource will help maternity teams to implement changes that will deliver benefits to women and families.”

RCM England director Jacque Gerrard said it was a “positive step”.

“This can only be a good thing for the women and babies that midwives and other members of the maternity team care for,” she said.

“The focus on issues such as better team working, communication and its acknowledgement of the need for more staff are among the key things that the RCM has championed and highlighted a need for.

“I hope this will take us a long way towards achieving all of these things and more.”

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