When the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Maternity System needed support to refresh its local improvement plan for postnatal care, Arden & GEM’s Healthcare Solutions team was tasked with reviewing the existing plan and updating the content to help the system deliver better individualised care for women and their babies.
By translating meaningful engagement with stakeholders into an actionable and measurable format, the refreshed Postnatal Care Improvement Plan has successfully met the requirements of both the Local Maternity System Board and NHS England and NHS Improvement.
The national maternity transformation programme seeks to achieve the vision set out in ‘Better Births’ by bringing together a wide range of organisations to deliver safer, more personalised, kinder, professional and more family friendly maternity services.
In support of the national transformation programme and in response to the Better Births West Midlands review, the Local Maternity System (LMS) in Coventry and Warwickshire developed a local improvement plan for postnatal care, which was published in 2019.
Postnatal care is the individualised care provided to meet the needs of a mother and her baby following childbirth and occurs both in hospital and at home. Effective transfer of care between services is crucial and should fully involve the mother.
Following a delay in progress due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a subsequent review by NHS England and NHS Improvement, Coventry and Warwickshire LMS required a refresh of the Postnatal Care Improvement Plan.
With experience of working with Coventry and Warwickshire LMS on perinatal mental health and continuity of carer initiatives, and established relationships with local maternity service leaders, Arden & GEM’s Healthcare Solutions team was selected to undertake the refresh.
Reviewing the existing plan
In order to fully understand the existing plan and the progress that had been made to date, engagement and discussion was undertaken with key stakeholders. This included the three local Heads of Midwifery, commissioners, matrons, specialist midwives, consultants and maternity continuity leads from across the system.
The intelligence and insight from the engagement process was combined with an analysis of the feedback from NHS England and NHS Improvement so there was a clear understanding of any gaps that needed to be addressed and achievements that needed to be recognised as part of the refreshed plan.
Understanding the national and local context
The CSU’s transformation specialists researched examples of plans from other LMSs, bringing together elements of best practice, to design a bespoke template to meet the needs of Coventry and Warwickshire. The template was able to shift the focus onto action and measurement while also recognising that different Trusts were at different stages in their maternity improvement journey.
Findings from the engagement process were also reflected back to participants to ensure they accurately captured the situation and engender ownership of subsequent actions.
Updating the action plan
The actions required to address any delivery gaps and to ensure the plan was in line with national guidance were captured in the revised template. Specific objectives, actions, owners, milestones and outcome measures were documented with targets cognisant of the multiple delivery responsibilities of the Heads of Midwifery. The result was a final Postnatal Care Improvement Plan which could be presented to the LMS Board.
Within a 4-month period, Arden & GEM’s Healthcare Solutions team was able to review the existing postnatal improvement plan, effectively engage with a wide range of stakeholders, design an action-focused format and produce a refreshed Postnatal Care Improvement Plan.
In addition to a workable, measurable format – which successfully met the requirements of NHS England and NHS Improvement – the action plan was owned by key stakeholders as a result of a consultative process.
The final plan was delivered on time and on budget to the LMS Board and endorsed by the commissioner as an “excellent” piece of work.
Find out more about our service improvement support here.