Spotlight on Maternity

Patient Safety Week started off with a launch of a ‘Spotlight on Maternity’

If an organisation commits to place a spotlight on maternity then the Government is asking that they consider these focus areas when setting out their plans. Locally-led and self-directed improvement is vital and therefore any plans and actions should also be considered in the context of local services

The spotlight on maternity is a way of drawing attention to the nature and scale of avoidable harm and to suggest ways in which this could be tackled, building on the work already achieved to date.

The five high level themes are:

  1. Building strong leadership in maternity services and developing a bespoke Safety Improvement Plan for maternity
  2. Building capability and skills for all maternity staff  and improving communication within and across teams
  3. Sharing progress and lessons learnt across the system
  4. Improving data capture and knowledge in maternity services
  5. Focusing on early detection of the risks associated with perinatal mental illness

These will not be new to most of you but this is partly the point – that the foundations or building blocks for patient safety are always going to be leadership, skills development, sharing learning, and improving data capture and knowledge and early detection of risks.

The next step is for anyone working in maternity settings and services to ask these five questions as the basis for your bespoke safety improvement plan:

  • How safe are we?
  • How do we know?
  • Where are the areas we should be focusing on for the next three to five years in order to reduce avoidable harm?
  • How can we address the system and human factors that impact on safety time and time again; communication, handover, observations, patient information, patient engagement, design of pathways, services and procurement?
  • What is our long term model for improving safety so that our efforts are sustained?
  • How can we create the right safety culture for our organisation that picks up the lessons from the ‘just culture’ community and supports staff when things go wrong?

Helpful Resources

The guide is found at:  :

Over the coming months we will be sharing information and knowledge about patient safety via this blog and the Sign up to Safety campaign ‘outlets’ such as our newsletter and webinars.

For help in creating your plan see the Sign up to Safety website:

For further information on measurement of Safety Improvement Plans see the Sign up to Safety webinar library:

For inspiration on how other organisations have showcased improvement work please see the ‘From the frontline’ section on the Sign up to Safety website: