Money for digital transformation supports improvements in maternity care

The digitisation of maternity services across England has taken another positive step forward with the announcement of 128 successful bids to the Digital Maternity Fund. Money will be given to NHS organisations across the country to improve infrastructure, technology systems and connectivity. In partnership with the Great North Care Record team at Newcastle Hospitals and County Durham CCG, the North East and North Cumbria Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) has been awarded over £100K of NHS funds for a successful bid to improve our digital maternity capabilities.

This money will help support an enhanced experience for maternity service users and staff. Digital tools are one of the ways we can improve safety, improve reporting, and share information with women and pregnant people and their families so they can feel more supported throughout their pregnancy and maternity journey. This is in addition to almost £500K awarded to Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to integrate the Great North Care Record’s Health Information Exchange with BadgerNet – the regional maternity record.

This funding is being invested this spring to improve how care records are shared. It will begin to connect maternity care records patient records and to the regional laboratory system – Sunquest ICE.

It is also being used to develop a digital roadmap to help the LMNS achieve its aim of becoming a Learning Health System. This will enable the network to generate knowledge and data inform decision making about how services are provided. Dr Peter-Marc Fortune, Clinical SRO – NHSEI Digital Child Health and Maternity Programme said: “We have seen some excellent examples of regional and local collaboration in the bids received. We want funds to be used for maximum impact and to address some of the inequalities at local level.”

Jules Gudgeon, National Digital Midwife Lead for Maternity – NHSEI said: “With this funding we are one step closer to interoperable record sharing, regardless of location or system used, for the benefit of women and pregnant people and the clinicians caring for them.

”Professor Stephen Robson, obstetric lead for the LMNS and consultant obstetrician said: “Our aim is to be able to record and share data recorded about pregnant women so that clinicians have the right information about that woman at the point of care, but also so that the data captured can help us to become a Learning Health System.

“Patients move around the system and currently data captured is in siloes. These changes form part of our wider regional digital strategy that will allow us to start linking the data captured at the point of care to generate insights and learn more about outcomes as patients transition across the system. A Learning Health System is about using knowledge and data to implement improvements to the way care is provided. Using clear evidence from the data captured to inform decision making.”