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Safer Maternity Care: The National Maternity Safety Strategy

In October 2016, the Department of Health published Safer Maternity Care - Next steps towards the national maternity ambition, which set out an ambitious goal to halve the rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths, and brain injuries that occur during or soon after birth by 2030.

On Tuesday, the Secretary of State for Health announced that the timeframe for this was to be brought forward to 2025, and set out next steps for the new maternity safety strategy, devised by the Department of Health, with the assistance of NHS England, NHS Improvement, and the Royal Colleges.

Safer Maternity Care: The National Maternity Safety Strategy – Progress and Next Steps is available by clicking here . This document reports on progress against the initial action plan and proposes steps to prevent serious incidents in maternity services, including:

  • More support for better, safer care
  • Measures to improve the quality of reviews and investigations
  • More support for learning and quality improvement
  • An incentive to further support the implementation of best practice to improve safety

Jeremy Hunt explained that the improvements will be driven by a new focus on the “rigour and quality of investigations into term stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and serious brain injuries” alongside “more support for maternity and neonatal training, measures to facilitate the dissemination of learning from investigations and improving local care practices to improve safety.”

Rapid Resolution and Redress (RRR) scheme for Severe Avoidable Birth Injury

The Secretary of State has also announced the next steps for introducing the Rapid Resolution and Redress (RRR) scheme for Severe Avoidable Birth Injury. The Scheme aims to introduce a system of “consistent and independent investigations for all instances where there may be severe avoidable birth injury” together with “access to ongoing support and compensation for eligible babies”. The Government’s summary of responses to the consultation, specifically how the scheme is to be administered, the eligibility threshold for compensation and how learning would best be shared and acted on to reduce future harm can be viewed by clicking here.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

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