A pregnant person lying on a bed cradling their stomach.

On 15th May 2024, the Greater Manchester Integrated Care Board will discuss maternity and neonatal services.

On 15th May 2024, the Greater Manchester Integrated Care Board will discuss maternity and neonatal services.

Our maternity service providers and the Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) are working together with maternity staff, women, birthing people, and their families to improve services. This means making them safer as well as providing care that is personal to everyone reflecting their unique needs and wishes.

We recognise there is more work needed to continue improving care provided to women, birthing people, and their families.

Two of the biggest challenges affecting maternity and neonatal services are maintaining agreed staffing levels to ensure the right staff are in the right place at the right time, and the relationship between staffing levels and outcomes.

There have been many stories about maternity and neonatal services in the media recently and we recognise these may cause concern for women, birthing people, and their families.

We want to assure people that there are many dedicated, highly skilled, kind, and caring staff who work tirelessly to provide excellent maternity care. We will be continuing to work together across the system, including with patient groups, to ensure that we improve all our maternity and neonatal services across Greater Manchester.

Here are some examples of the work we are doing:

  • Increasing the number of midwives and maternity support workers in local services through looking at innovative recruitment methods and improving the retention of our midwifery staff.
  • Reviewing the effectiveness of different models of care and ensuring best practice care is regularly checked, and embedded across organisations, guaranteeing protected time for training and development.
  • Improving maternity triage systems to determine who needs to be seen as a priority. This means women and birthing people are seen according to clinical need and severity of symptoms. Using a risk-based assessment helps look after the health and safety of both parent and baby.
  • Increasing the number of women and birthing people who receive continuity of care from the safe midwifery team where possible throughout pregnancy and labour.
  • Relaunching birth centres, which are midwife led maternity units. Birth centres offer a middle ground between home and hospital. Reopening birthing centres where possible will be a focus for teams to help provide high quality midwife led community services and offer greater choice to women and birthing people.
  • Working to address health inequalities, for example by introducing cultural liaison midwives.

Like other integrated care partnerships across the country, we are also working with NHS England to make improvements and are anticipating new national guidance soon.

Help to improve maternity and neonatal services

Maternity and Neonatal Voices Partnerships are groups of women, birthing people, and their families, midwives, doctors, and commissioners working together to review and develop local services.

If you have experience or feedback, please think about joining your local Maternity and Neonatal Voices Partnership to have your voice heard. More information can be found on their website.

Stay up to date about our work

If you are interested in being kept up to date with local services, consider joining the mailing list for our “partnership update” where we often include relevant information and stories about maternity and neonatal services.

Catch up with our recent maternity and neonatal news

If you have concerns about your care

If any women or birthing people have concerns about their care, we would encourage them to raise this first with the person looking after the so concerns can quickly be resolved.

Where this is not possible, or concerns have not been addressed, we would encourage people to contact Patient Advice and Liaison Services (PALS) for support. Search for your PALS service online.

Mandy Philbin, chief nursing officer and interim deputy chief executive, NHS Greater Manchester said:

“We recognise there is more work needed to continue improving care provided to women, birthing people, and their families. Whilst there are many good examples of care, we know this isn’t everyone’s experience; and we are determined to rapidly address areas where we fall short using skilled and experienced staff to do so.

“Listening to patients and their families is critical and we remain steadfast in giving women and birthing people the best possible experience across our maternity and neonatal services.”

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