Local maternity system

Working together for Better Births

Our aims

Better Births, the report of the National Maternity Review was published in February 2016 and set out a clear vision: for maternity services across England to become safer, more personalised, kinder, professional and more family friendly.

Part of this new approach is about every woman having access to information to enable greater choice and preference before, during and after childbirth. This includes detailed decisions about care; and where she, as the mother (and her baby) can access suppor with a clear emphasis on their individual needs and circumstances.

It also calls for all staff to be supported to deliver care which is women centred, working in high performing teams, in organisations which are well led and in cultures which promote innovation, continuous learning, and break down organisational and professional boundaries.

Locally, we're working with all our partners, service users and parents to improve maternity services for the women and babies of Barnsley, Bassetlaw, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.

Support during COVID-19

As part of NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHS E/I) we are working hard to ensure that pregnant women and families from Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds in our region are aware of the support available to them during the pandemic.

These actions are important because:

  • The UKOSS study showed that 55% of pregnant women admitted to hospital with COVID-19 were from a BAME background.  Black pregnant women are 8 times more likely to be admitted to hospital and Asian women 4 times more likely.  This is not explained by a higher incidence in the big cities with higher BAME populations.
  • The MBRRACE-UK rapid review showed that 7 of the 8 women who died as a result of COVID-19 were BAME.  The recommendations of the review included that trusts implement the 4 actions set out in the letter.

The four key actions we are working towards are:

  1. Increasing support of at-risk pregnant women – e.g. making sure clinicians have a lower threshold to review, admit and consider multidisciplinary escalation in women from a BAME background.
  2. Reaching out and reassuring pregnant BAME women through tailored communications.
  3. Ensuring hospitals discuss vitamins, supplements and nutrition in pregnancy with all women. Women low in vitamin D may be more vulnerable to coronavirus so women with darker skin or those who always cover their skin when outside may be at particular risk of vitamin D insufficiency and should consider taking a daily supplement of vitamin D all year.
  4. Ensuring all providers record on maternity information systems the ethnicity of every woman, as well as other risk factors, such as living in a deprived area (postcode), co-morbidities, BMI and aged 35 years or over, to identify those most at risk of poor outcomes.

We are working aross the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw system to ensure that organisations working closely with pregant women from BAME groups know the NHS remains here - and ready to help - through offering the best possible care. 

To find out more about how the NHS is supporting pregnant women from BAME communities visit: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/06/nhs-boosts-support-for-pregnant-black-and-ethnic-minority-women/

ICON - Babies Cry, You Can COPE

In 2021, we started supporting the ICON programme across South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw, promoting safe care and handling of newborn babies - educating parents about babies crying - and normalising this so that babies are not shaken (which can cause seizures, blindness and disability).

Find out more about ICON in our region.

Useful Documents

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