£35 million investment to boost maternity safety

The investment will be provided over the next three years to ensure maternity services listen to and act on women’s experiences

  • £35 million investment to fund specialist training for staff and additional midwives to improve maternity services
  • £9 million dedicated to prevent avoidable brain injuries in childbirth  
  • Women’s voices and experiences to be prioritised with funding allocated to improve care

Almost £35 million will be invested to improve maternity safety across England with the recruitment of additional midwives and the expansion of specialist training to thousands of extra healthcare workers.

The investment, which was announced as part of the Spring Budget, will be provided over the next three years to ensure maternity services listen to and act on women’s experiences to improve care.  

The funding includes:

  • £9 million for the roll out the Reducing Brain Injury programme across maternity units in England to provide healthcare workers with the tools and training to reduce avoidable brain injuries in childbirth. 
  • Investment in training to ensure the NHS workforce has the skills needed to provide ever-safer maternity care. An additional 6,000 clinical staff will be trained in neonatal resuscitation and we will almost double the number of clinical staff receiving specialist training in obstetric medicine in England.  
  • Increasing the number of midwives by funding 160 new posts over three years to support the growth of the maternity and neonatal workforce. 
  • Funding to support the rollout of Maternity and Neonatal Voice Partnerships to improve how women’s experiences and views are listened to and acted on to improve care.

Ahead of Mother’s Day, the Health and Social Care Secretary visited Cambridge University Hospital. She spoke with health experts from the hospital and microbiology faculty about a range of women’s health issues, including maternity care and breast cancer.

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said:

"I want every mother to feel safe when giving birth to their baby.

"Improving maternity care is a key cornerstone of our Women’s Health Strategy and with this investment we are delivering on that priority – more midwives, specialist training in obstetric medicine and pushing to improve how women are listened to in our healthcare system.

"£35 million is going directly to improving the safety and care in our maternity wards and will move us closer to our goal of making healthcare faster, simpler and fairer for all."

This investment follows a recent announcement of a new set of Women’s Health Strategy priorities for 2024, which include:

  • Better care for menstrual and gynaecological conditions  
  • Expanding women’s health hubs to improve women’s access to care 
  • Tackling disparities and improving support for vulnerable women including victims of sexual abuse and violence 
  • Bolstering maternity care, before during and after pregnancy by continuing to deliver on NHS England’s 3-year delivery plan for maternity and neonatal services and focusing on preconception and postnatal care for women, raising awareness of pregnancy sickness and actioning the recommendations set out in the Pregnancy Loss Review
  • Investment into more research in women’s health and improving how women are represented in medical research

Minister for the Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield, said:

"This extra funding will help clinicians deliver the best care for expecting mothers and improve maternity safety.

"I especially welcome the expansion of posts for midwives, who play a crucial role in delivering babies safely and caring for expectant mother pre- and postnatally.

"Crucially, as part of this investment, we’re also rolling out a training programme to prevent avoidable brain injuries in childbirth."

As part of the government’s  commitment to action the recommendation of the Pregnancy Loss Review, the Baby Loss Certificate Service launched last month to allow parents who experienced a pregnancy loss before 24 weeks to apply for a certificate to acknowledge their loss. Since the launch of the service, as of 4 March, the total number of completed requests was 37,268.

Chief Midwifery Officer for England Kate Brintworth said:

"We are focused on ensuring that women receive the safest high-quality care before, during and after their pregnancy.

"The rollout of Maternity and Neonatal Voice Partnerships is an important step in improving care by listening to women’s views and experiences and acting upon them.

"Our workforce must also have the right skills for improving maternity safety and this investment helps ensure all those working in maternity services in England have the tools and training to reduce avoidable brain injuries in childbirth.

"We will continue our plans to grow the midwifery workforce and nearly double the number of staff who have received specialist training in obstetric medicine in England."

From: Department of Health and Social Care, The Rt Hon Victoria Atkins MP, and Maria Caulfield MP