Meeting and improving standards

Meeting and improving standards and structures that underpin our national ambition

So that maternity and neonatal teams can provide the right care for everyone, they need clear standards and the right structures in place. Being able to implement the best clinical practice for all families and have access to high quality data and the right digital tools to help inform decisions are vital.

In many cases, this is already in place, so we are not looking to add new standards or reporting – our role is to ensure that the things that enable a safer culture are in place.

Improvements to clinical practice have been crucial to the improvement in maternity and neonatal outcomes over the last decade. However, Donna Ockenden’s report identified that, at Shrewsbury and Telford, many women were not offered care in line with existing best clinical practice. Better Births also identified that a variation of protocols, policies and standards across Trusts and networks create additional work and hinder people working together to provide effective care.

There is already nationally defined best practice including:

  • The Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle, a package of interventions to reduce stillbirth, neonatal brain injury, neonatal death, and pre-term birth.
  • The MEWS and NEWTT-2 tools to improve the detection and care of unwell mothers and babies and enable timely care.

Bill Kirkup’s report into East Kent highlighted the need for accurate, up to date data to highlight safety issues promptly. High quality, timely data means staff can learn and act. Work is underway to review what data should be used for monitoring. In the meantime, this should not stop the NHS from working with what is already in place.

Enabling the use of digital technology for women and their babies will make it easier for women to access the information they need and for services to offer safe and personalised care. However, there is currently variation. While some maternity services remain almost entirely paper-based, others have apps to support personalised care and benefit from an integrated Electronic Patient Record (EPR).


Our objectives

  • Standards to ensure best practice: consistent implementation of best practice such as Saving Babies Lives.
  • Data to inform learning: improve the timeliness and accuracy of data and implement the Kirkup report recommendation to “read the signals.”
  • Make better use of digital technology in maternity services: the implementation of electronic patient records supports flows of information and women to have digital access to their care records.

Our goals

Description of our goal Where are we now? What are we aiming for? When will we get there?
Implementation of the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle(SBLCB) v3. Awaiting national guidance. All Provider Trusts have implemented SBLCB v2 and where not fully compliant, action plans are currently in place. All 8 Trusts are fully compliant with all elements of SBLCB v2. 31 March 2024 (date may be revised once CNST national guidance is issued)
Continue to roll out the revised NENC LMNS Clinical Dashboard. 16 Clinical Indicators have been agreed, new dashboard will be used from Q1 2023/2024 onwards. Clinical dashboard produced 4 times a year. 31 July 2023
Continue the roll out of BadgerNet (maternity and neonatal electronic patient record) across the North East and North Cumbria. 6 out of 8 Providers Trusts have implemented BadgerNet 100% of Providers Trusts to be using BadgerNet. 31 March 2024

Initiatives we are implementing to help achieve our objectives and goals:

  • Prioritise areas for standardisation and develop ICS-wide clinical policies such as for implementation of the Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle.
  • Monitor and support trusts to implement national standards.
  • Use data to compare their outcomes to similar systems and understand any variation and where improvements need to be made.
  • Wherever possible, have a strategy and digital procurements on a system-wide basis, to improve standardisation and interoperability.
  • Support women to set out their Personalised Care and Support Plan through digital means, with a roadmap that drives maturity and monitors uptake.
  • Support digital maternity community of practice