Hundreds of NHS maternity and neonatal leaders in England will benefit from a new £500,000 maternity leadership programme to train staff across 126 Trusts and 44 local maternity systems.
The programme will be rolled out later this year and will equip maternity leaders with the skills and knowledge to improve workplace culture and facilitate greater collaborative working between nurses, doctors, midwives and obstetricians, said NHS England.
The issue of leadership was identified as a key factor in Donna Ockenden’s independent review into cases of neglect and preventable baby deaths at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.
The review highlighted the issue of disconnect between ‘ward and board’ in maternity services and the importance of multidisciplinary training, escalating concerns to senior leaders, and applying lessons learned from serious incidents.
Midwifery leadership has already been strengthened with the appointment last year of seven regional chief midwives to work with local maternity services to provide safer and more personal care.
This is in addition to frontline maternity safety champions in every trust, including one obstetrician, midwife and neonatologist, who work closely with a board maternity safety champion to promote seamless communication across disciplines.
The new leadership programme will provide training and ongoing support for 700 people including NHS trust board safety champions, heads of midwifery, clinical directors of neonatal and clinical directors of midwifery, leaders of local maternity systems and regional chief midwives.
Alongside the programme, a new core curriculum for professionals working in maternity and neonatal services is being developed by the Maternity Transformation Programme in partnership with professional organisations, clinicians and service users to address variations in skills and safety training across England.
Patient Safety Minister Nadine Dorries said: “The shocking and tragic findings of the Ockenden Review highlighted the importance of strengthening maternity leadership and oversight as well as fostering more collaborative approaches within maternity and neonatal services.”