Unwarranted variation in maternity care poses risks to patient safety, may lead to sub-optimal clinical practice and complications for staff who regularly rotate between different units and for women who may be seen in more than one hospital during their pregnancy. Aligning guidelines across the Thames Valley Region mitigates potential patient safety issues and encourages consistency in the care delivered to women and their families.
Since 2015 the Oxford AHSN Maternity Clinical Network has developed, agreed and implemented clinical guidelines which optimise care across the Oxford AHSN region.
The content of these guidelines is 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) is given the opportunity to comment and amend all guidelines. The guidelines take the form of a simple one- page algorithm and are added as an appendix to the trust local guideline. They are also presented to the Local Maternity System (LMS) forum for high-level agreement.
Guidelines are revisited and updated as necessary based on new evidence. Steering group members regularly put forward suggestions for new guidelines often in response to a local concern or safety issue.
The maternity clinical network is currently working with the Patient Safety Academy to develop a research proposal to determine issues and learning in the implementation of region wide guidelines in maternity units to help improve care for mothers and babies.