nurse with a mother holding her baby

Improving personalisation in maternity care

To deliver the national Maternity Transformation Programme (MTP) NHSE/I looked for appropriate partners. SCW was asked to support the development of their personalisation and choice workstream. 

The challenge

Personalisation and Choice is one of 10 workstreams in the Maternity Transformation Programme established to deliver the recommendations of Better Births, the Five Year Forward View for maternity care.  

A growing body of evidence shows that better outcomes and experiences, as well as reduced health inequalities, are possible when people are actively involved and can shape their care and support. Personalised care can have a positive impact on health inequalities, with people from lower socio-economic groups able to benefit the most from personalised care.  

NHSE/I MTP wants to transform maternity services and improve the lives of women and babies in England by providing safe, personalised, professional, and high-quality maternity services. 

To better understand their current situation and improve future services they asked SCW to support the development of their personalisation and choice workstream. This would include a deep dive process with Regional Maternity Programme Boards to understand in more depth what they were currently doing. The project included running Test & Learn sessions to gain further understanding of Personalised Care and Support Planning in Local Maternity Systems being delivered, and what was needed in developing further communications materials on personalisation.

Our approach

The national team had already developed some guidance for Local Maternity Systems to help them improve the delivery of Personalised Care and Support Plans and to audit the quality of the plans.

Reviewing the guidance

SCW’s Healthy Childhood and Maternity team ran a number of semi-structured interviews with midwives and LMS leads across England to delve further into how useful this guidance was for them. The sessions were run in conjunction with a survey to identify whether the current guidance was useful for local maternity systems. The feedback gathered helped to shape the final format of the published guidance.

Feedback on current practice

SCW was then tasked to undertake a national deep dive, via surveys and follow up interviews with local maternity systems across England to understand what was happening in practice. The surveys investigated what they were actually delivering regarding personalised care and support planning. The aim was to gain a better understanding of the progress that local maternity services had made with regards to personalised care and support planning and to identify areas of best practice and innovation. 

To better understand women’s birth experiences and personalisation over the preceding 18 months (and during the pandemic) a thematic review was conducted of Maternity Voice Partnership surveys. This ensured that development contributions were captured from women, and their families, commissioners and providers (midwives and doctors) involved in these working groups. 


SCW co-produced a comprehensive communication plan with key stakeholders to support the personalisation workstream providing recommendations on how best to engage with the midwifery workforce and clinicians. 

We also developed engaging materials explaining personalised care and support planning for those using the maternity services, including an informative animation. 

The outcome

  • Due to Covid-19 work pressures on the maternity workforce, not all communications activity took place as planned. Further communications messages will be rolled out by NHSE/I on an ongoing basis at the appropriate time.

Added value

  • SCW had a clear understanding of the wider Better Births policy context and rationale for this project which contributed to the value we could deliver for NHSE/I.
  • As the project progressed we were able to adapt and flex our support to include additional communications requirements i.e. adding the animation to explain personalised care and support planning.

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