Leeds champions quality maternity care with launch of new strategy

The NHS in Leeds has today set out a new vision for providing high quality, safe and responsive care for women and their families during pregnancy and birth.
A Maternity Strategy for Leeds was launched by NHS Leeds South and East Clinical Group, which has developed the strategy on behalf of NHS organisations and partners across the city. It sets out nine priorities for how services in Leeds can support children and parents from conception to birth and beyond;
– Personalised Care
– Access
– Emotional Health
– Preparation for Parenthood
– Choice
– Specialist Support
– Quality & Safety and Staffing
– Staffing

Key recommendations include:
– Specialist mental health support to give maternity staff advice and supervision to be made available to strengthen their confidence and practice
– Evidence based parent education programmes will be available across the city and at times that make it easier for parents to access. This will include roll out of ‘Preparation for Birth and Beyond’ and ‘Baby Steps’, which will be tailored to the needs of parents with more complex or specific needs.
– Choice will include homebirth, midwifery led care, water birth and delivery suite
– Development of a distinct Midwifery Led Unit in the city, sup
– Women will know who their named midwife is and have regular contact with him or her
– Women will have one to one care during their labour and birth
– Antenatal care will take place in locations and at times that help women and their partners to attend appointments, helping to ensure that they can access all the support they may need throughout their pregnancy and that no important milestone appointments are missed. We will deliver as much as possible within Children’s Centres
– Introduction of digital media support, building on the success of a ‘Baby Buddy’ phone app

Jane Mischenko, Lead Commissioner for children and maternity services at the CCG says:
“There are over 10,000 babies born in Leeds every year and we want the best start for every one of those. This strategy is an important milestone and will ensure that women in Leeds have the safest pregnancy and best birth experience possible.
“Our maternity service in Leeds is already one we can be proud of. We know that clinical commitment, partnership working and expertise are strong. Leeds Teaching Hospital provides the full range of maternity services and was rated ‘good’ by the Care Quality Commission in 2014. The city also received full accreditation under the Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative for encouraging and supporting breastfeeding.
“But we also recognise that there are some real issues around providing personalised care and a positive birthing experience for all.”
Cllr Lisa Mullherin, Chair of Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board adds:
“We have ambition in Leeds; we want to be the best city in the UK by 2030, and the best city to grow up in. Children who have the best possible start in life are more likely to benefit from successful futures. An excellent maternity service is critical to the delivery of our ambitions and I am delighted to be able to launch a maternity strategy that sets out what we need to do over the next five years to provide safe, high quality maternity care.
“The strategy is particularly crucial in supporting the city to reduce infant mortality and to continue to narrow the gap that we have between more affluent and deprived areas in Leeds.”
The strategy has been informed by extensive public consultation as well as the Leeds ‘Maternity Health Needs assessment’, which provides a detailed analysis of the needs of women in Leeds in relation to maternity services.
A Maternity Programme Board will now oversee the development of detailed plans to take forward the priorities over the next five years.