Launch of the LMS Preceptorship Programme

on 03 October 2019 Preceptorship Maternity Services Clinical practice

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Local Maternity System (WY&H LMS) aims to be a first choice place to work, attracting and retaining a highly effective workforce that will be well led, innovative and will continuously learn.

To enable WY&H LMS to meet its vision, and to deliver the recommendations highlighted in the Better Births report (2016), the Long Term Plan for the NHS (2019), the Interim NHS People Plan (2019) and Health Education England Maternity Workforce Strategy (2019) a multidisciplinary workforce task and finish group was established. Membership of the task and finish group includes representation from the NHS Trusts, Health Education England, Local Workforce Action Board, Royal College of Midwives, Universities, Neonatal ODN, clinical networks and other partnership organisations.

Following engagement with stakeholders, a programme of work was agreed to ensure we have a workforce that can respond to maternity transformation. One of the priorities for this programme of work was the adoption of a common standardised WY&H LMS preceptorship programme for newly qualified midwives. This was identified through a table-top comparison of the current packages provided by the 6 NHS Trusts in the LMS. This exercise identified considerable variation in the content, the support offered and duration of the preceptorship period. Anecdotally it is thought that this variation created recruitment issues and has driven competition between Trusts.

A subsidiary of the workforce task and finish group was established in May 2019 to work in partnership to develop a standardised midwifery preceptorship programme. The group included representation from the workforce task and finish group as well as having representation from newly qualified midwives and student midwives as core members of the group. This ensured the LMS listened to and incorporated feedback from the future maternity workforce as well.   

Together they developed a survey designed to provide an opportunity for the newly qualified midwives and those who recently transitioned to a Band 6 working in the LMS to give feedback on their experiences of their preceptorship period.  The survey highlighted the areas of the preceptorship programme that were working well and some areas for development.

Using the feedback received the group worked collaboratively to create the standardised LMS Preceptorship Package. The package details what preceptorship is, what support the Preceptee can expect to receive throughout the preceptorship period and also the commitment required by both the Preceptee and the Preceptor.

The package also includes the aspects of practice newly qualified midwives are expected to demonstrate their confidence in before they can progress to a Band 6 Midwife. It also provides lots of opportunity to reflect on their practice.

In addition to the development of the LMS Preceptorship Package the group also secured dedicated resource, Preceptorship Lead Midwife, in each NHS Trust to ensure the adoption of the new programme and work closely with the Professional Midwifery Advocates and Practice Development Midwives to support Preceptees in their exciting career journey.

From October 2019 all newly qualified midwives who were successfully appointed to roles in the WY&H LMS will be given their preceptorship package so they can begin their period of transition to develop their confidence and competence as an autonomous professional.

Take a look at the LMS Preceptorship booklet here