Unwarranted variation in maternity care can cause issues including introducing risks to patient safety, sub-optimal clinical practice and complications for staff who regularly rotate between different units. All this can adversely affect patient care and safety.
Since 2015 the Oxford AHSN Maternity Clinical Network has developed, agreed and implemented sets of clinical guidelines which optimise care across the Oxford AHSN region. Consistency of care and aligning guidelines mitigates potential patient safety issues, especially when women can be seen in more than one hospital during their pregnancy.
The content of these guidelines was written by network members based on best available evidence and current national guidance. The network steering group (which has clinical and midwifery representation from all member trusts) was given the opportunity to comment and amend all guidelines during a three-month consultation period. The guidelines are also linked into the Local Maternity System (LMS) and are presented in this forum for high-level agreement.
Building on this initial set, stakeholders put forward suggestions for further guideline alignment. With this and local needs in mind, a new set of guidelines was chosen. These guidelines are now embedded, or in the process of being embedded, in each trust in the region.