Maternity and Neonatal Escalation Policy

Since April 2022, system co-ordination, oversight and escalation management has become a responsibility of the Integrated Care Boards (ICB). Each ICB leads a collaborative group of providers known as the Integrated Care System (ICS) who in turn provide care and treatment for their local communities (Health and Care Act 2022).

The aim of this escalation policy is to describe the way in which operational pressures will be recognised throughout North East and North Cumbria ICS, as well as set out the high level multi-agency approach that will be taken by the NENC ICS in order that these ‘surges’ in demand or systems in ‘escalation’ can be rapidly and seamlessly managed.

The NENC Maternity and Neonatal Escalation Policy sets out the procedures for the NENC to manage significant surges in demand and ensure that maternity services can continue to be provided safely and effectively.

This policy uses NENC Operational Escalation Levels Maternity Framework (OPELMF) to provide a consistent approach in times of pressure, 7 days a week, specifically by:

  • Enabling local systems to maintain quality and patient safety
  • Providing a locally consistent set of escalation levels, triggers, and protocols across maternity services in the NENC
  • Setting clear expectations around roles and responsibilities for all those involved in escalation in response to surge pressures at a local level, regional level and national level
  • Setting consistent terminology
  • Improving communication and multi-disciplinary working relationships
  • Enhancing the experience for mothers and babies and reducing harm

This policy also includes the NENC Neonatal Operational Delivery Network (ODN) Escalation Framework which sets out a consistent approach for the Northern Neonatal ODN and the Northern Neonatal Transport Team (NNeTS) in managing escalation, transfer, and repatriation of neonates.

It is essential that maternity and neonatal services and systems work closely together with the NENC System Coordination Centre (SCC) as early as possible (OPELMF Level 2) when they start to experience surges in demand. The aim of having a joint policy is to facilitate this closer working.

Read the policy in full.

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