Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH)

Maternity Voices Partnership Strategy

  1. Introduction

Providing a quality service is more than reviewing patient safety events and clinical governance structures; it is about asking local women, families and communities about what we do well in maternity services and how we can learn and change when we do not provide a good service.  The NHS historically has not been very good at this aspect of service development and is aware it needs to increase involvement and hear and act on the voices of those who use services. The OUH Maternity Service aims to ensure that women, families and communities from a range of social, cultural and demographic backgrounds are asked their views about Maternity Services. Better Births (2016) stated vision for maternity services across England:

“Our vision for maternity services across England is for them to become safer, more personalised, kinder, professional and more family friendly; where every woman has access to information to enable her to make decisions about her care; and where she and her baby can access support that is centered on their individual needs and circumstances.

And for all staff to be supported to deliver care which is woman centered, working in high performing teams, in organisations which are well led and in cultures which promote innovation, continuous learning, and break down organisational and professional boundaries.”


In line with Better Births this Strategy will ensure that OUH Maternity Services hear the voices of the women, families and communities and that services are provided in such a way that they meet the needs of the local population.

  1. Background

There was a local Maternity Services Liaison Committee in Oxfordshire which was disbanded in 2013 following a review by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).  Funding was withdrawn and the CCG suggested user involvement was linked to another overarching CCG group.  Although this was supported by the Senior Midwifery team at OUH at the time, there has subsequently not been formal process/strategy for involving women and their families.

Two user representatives have been actively involved and support the Maternity Service as members of the Antenatal/Postnatal and Intrapartum steering groups.  This has been very positive and much appreciated but only provides a limited user perspective.

The Friends and family test was introduced 2014 and provides pregnant women with a limited opportunity to feedback about whether they would recommended the service but has a poor response rate and is does not truly involve women in service development.

Given the above there is a need to completely overhaul the way women and their families are involved and this strategy will be far reaching and innovative in order to achieve the aims and objectives.

  1. Purpose

To gain the views of women and their families about the provision of maternity services and to ensure women’s voices are heard from all groups across Oxfordshire.   Information gained will be used to generate strategies and action plans which aim to ensure the provision of maternity services that positively affect the physical and mental wellbeing of women.

The views of women, their families and other stakeholders will be sought from a range of sources including the National Maternity Survey, the Friends and Family Test, compliments, complaints, and feedback from social media and face to face meetings within the community.

The Maternity Service within OUH will have an organisational culture that seeks to continually improve safety, quality and women’s experiences.    This Maternity Voices Partnership Strategy will set out ways to ensure that the views of women and their families are sought and used to achieve this organisation culture detailed above.

Given the evidence that user involvement is imperative, the Maternity Service is keen to agree an all-inclusive strategy that will ensure women and their families from all groups have the opportunity to have their say.

  1. Aim of the strategy

To improve the care of women and their babies by listening to their stories, learning from what we do well and identifying where changes need to be made.


This aim will be underpinned by a number of objectives linked to the OUH Quality Priorities 2017 /18 and the priorities agreed by the Group. The priorities selected for the focus of 2017/18 relate to feedback from women and have been themed into the following areas:

  • Antenatal – improving continuity of care
  • Intrapartum –every woman will be listened to and involved
  • Postnatal – women to feel well supported by staff on the postnatal ward

Breastfeeding advice was raised by the women and future feedback received will be passed to the Infant feeding team to review.

  1. Initiatives impacting on the strategy
National Local Trust
Kirkup report Academic Health Science Network Patient stories
National review of maternity services – ‘Better Births’  NHS England Thames Valley Strategic Clinical Network Patient experience team
Patient and Public Involvement in quality improvement – NHS London Oxfordshire Family Project Hospital Heroes
Care Quality Commission reports Family Links Social Media
1001 Critical Days Birth Afterthoughts
Best beginnings Saplings Consultant Midwives clinics
National Childbirth Trust/Women’s Institute

Baby Alliance



  1. Methods for obtaining women’s views

The maternity services currently collect data from a number of important sources but there is no formal mechanism to synthesize the data in a meaningful way.

Existing and new sources of data will be used to inform the delivery of care, and service development and will inform our Quality Standards.


  • Picker Institute – National Maternity Survey
  • Friends and Family Test
  • User representatives
  • Complaints
  • Compliments
  • Research
  • Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS)
  • Ad hoc meetings/feedback
  • Birth Afterthoughts
  • Staff
  1. The new way!

The Maternity Voices Partnership Group will act as the strategic group to ensure the views of women are heard and acted upon. The membership of the group will include OUH staff and lay voices representatives.


The group will:

  • Identify two to three projects per year which will be the focus of the group. The projects will align to local and national priorities and/or be influenced by women’s feedback of their experiences. These projects will contribute to the delivery of a positive experience for all women and their families.
  • Receive and analyse data regarding women’s experiences and use these to identify trends, risks and learning for the maternity service.
  • Recommend actions required in relation to women’s experiences, including the need for an action plan, and oversee progress against such actions.
  • Develop feedback tools
    • Raise the profile of the maternity services locally and nationally as appropriate.
    • Interpret and disseminate national and other relevant guidance in relation to women’s experiences, identifying actions for the maternity service.
    • Assist in the development of information, written and verbal, for women and their families. Work closely with the Communications Team in the development of innovative ways to use social media.
    • The group will work with the OUHFT and NHS England to develop a new system/tool to obtain feedback from women
  1. Success Criteria

A Maternity Voices section will be added to the maternity page on the OUH Intranet page containing relevant information about the group.  This will include how to contact one of the voices representatives or a member of OUH staff, dates of visits from the Lay Volunteers to local women’s groups, email contact details.

Members of OUH maternity staff or lay representatives with a specific interest in an aspect of review can be co-opted into a small task and finish group.
Marketing materials will be developed to ensure staff, women and key partners are aware of the Maternity Voices group.

  1. Links


  • Making every day better together group
  • Women’s Clinical Governance Committee
  • OUH Patient Experience team
  • Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Strategic Clinical Network (SCN), Oxford and Oxford Brookes Universities
  • Children’s centres, community groups and leaders
  • Intrapartum and antenatal/postnatal steering groups
  • Professional Midwife Advocates (A-EQUIP)
  1. Outcomes and monitoring
    The effectiveness of the group will be measured by:
  • The development of improved information for women
  • Service improvement in maternity services
  • Numbers and types of compliments and complaints

The work will be monitored using an agreed action and implementation plan.


Written: July 2017

Agreed:  July 2018