NHS staff praise pioneering maternity programme

By Hollie Ewers on 19 December 2018 Stillbirth Multiple Birth Neonatal Death

A programme to reduce the number of stillbirths, neonatal admissions and deaths resulting from multiple pregnancies, is being praised by midwives, obstetricians and sonographers at maternity units across England.

An independent evaluation of the Maternity Engagement Programme (MEP) reveals that 90% of respondents involved said: “if we hadn’t done the MEP we would not have achieved as much positive change.”

Run by the charity Tamba (the Twins and Multiple Births Association) the programme ensures mums expecting twins, triplets or more, are treated in line with NICE multiple pregnancy guidelines.

The evaluation shows 81% of respondents confirming continuity of care for women expecting multiples had improved and 69% said teamworking between obstetricians, midwives and sonographers had improved – both key priorities identified in Better births and for the NHS England’s Maternity Transformation team.
Three quarters of the units involved agreed that the MEP was the catalyst for positive change in care for women expecting multiples and that the understanding of what is required to deliver the best possible care to multiple pregnancy families had improved.
Tamba CEO Keith Reed said: ‘This is the clearest indication yet that our work with maternity units has been welcome, positive and successful.
‘Tamba’s midwifery consultants with specialist expertise and knowledge of multiple births, go into the units to conduct the audits and feedback shows that they offered wonderful support, were incredibly helpful, focussed, knowledgeable, committed and non-judgemental.
‘We also have evidence to show that beyond adhering to the NICE guidance, this programme has generated additional positive outcomes, such as increasing the understanding, awareness and profile of effective care for multiple pregnancies within units.’

One midwife respondent said: ‘The project helped to identify the gaps – that was really valuable. Nothing was provided for these high-risk women who end up in hospital. We were providing lots of things for lots of other high-risk pregnancies but not for these poor women – when we said that it was an eye opener.’
Keith added: ‘The fact that the units involved intend to sustain the project after it finishes reflects the overall message from this evaluation – that the project was effectively designed and delivered, that it was highly valued by the participating units, and that it has clearly resulted in positive change in the care of multiple pregnancies.’