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Maternity Voices Partnerships


Maternity Voices Partnerships  


‘The public are no longer prepared to be passive, trusting and grateful recipients of what is made available. They are no longer prepared to hope that their views will be fully reflected by the professionals. …’ (Kennedy 2001: 403)

In his report following the public enquiry into the deaths of children receiving heart surgery in Bristol, Professor Ian Kennedy emphasised that the era of ‘doctor knows best’ was well and truly over. He articulated clearly that ‘Increasingly, … the public are ready to challenge, prepared to question, and have come to expect that services will be responsive to their needs’ (Kennedy 2001: 403). In order for services to be responsive to the needs of service users, there must be opportunities for the public and current or recent service users to be involved in determining what is provided (in terms of the range of services) and how (the values, beliefs, the articulated objectives of care, the outcomes that are audited and researched, and so on).

This is often referred to as partnership working. Specific methods to enable engagement to occur include community development work, listening activities, co-design of services and co-production of information, facilities and services.

As midwives in the UK, you should be thinking critically about how women and their families are involved. And how the public’s interests and concerns are reflected and safeguarded in services you and your NHS trust or board provide. Every health care professional has a responsibility for their own practice and for contributing to the kind of culture and systems they work within. We can all have a positive influence.

Learning aims and objectives

This resource aims to provide a basic overview of partnership working in maternity. At the end of this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the principles of partnership working
  • Identify particular methods that facilitate partnership working with the public and maternity service users
  • Understand in outline the history of partnership working in maternity
  • Know how Maternity Services Liaison Committees (MSLCs) function and the plans to develop partnership working in maternity with the launch of Maternity Voices Partnerships (MVPs)

Keywords and linking topics

Women’s voices, partnership working, service users, Maternity Services Liaison Committees, Maternity Voices Partnerships, transition to motherhood

Questions at the end of this resource will enable you to assess your knowledge and reflect on how you can incorporate it into your own practice. In the following questions, please select the answer that you believe to be correct. This will be marked and then you can move on to the next question. If you wish, at the end you can return for a further attempt at the questions.

Upon completion of the module, you will be able to download and save or print a certificate to include in your CPD/revalidation portfolio.