The Women and Families Involvement Group for the National Maternity and Perinatal Audit

We are very excited to announce that we are beginning recruitment for our NMPA Women and Families Involvement Group. This group, which will consist equally of representatives from charity groups and lay members, will provide critical input into the audit including what we measure, how we measure it, and how that information is presented and communicated. Membership of the group is a vitally important voluntary role, with the opportunity to have real impact on the direction of this large and important project.

What is the NMPA?

The National Maternity and Perinatal Audit (NMPA) is a new large scale audit of the NHS maternity services across England, Scotland and Wales. It began on 1st July 2016 and is initially commissioned for three years.

Using timely, high quality data, the audit aims to evaluate a range of care processes and outcomes in order to identify good practice and areas for improvement in the care of women and babies looked after by NHS maternity services.

The audit will consist of three elements:

  1. A survey of the organisation of maternity care in England, Scotland and Wales will provide an up-to-date overview of maternity care provision, women’s access to recommended services and options available to them.
  2. A continuous prospective clinical audit of a number of key interventions and outcomes to identify unexpected variation between service providers or regions
  3. A flexible programme of periodic audits on specific topics (‘sprint audits’) within a focused time frame

The NMPA will enable reliable reporting on a range of key measures using high-quality clinical data. We will produce annual reports, two organisational survey reports, as well as a series of in-depth reports on specific topics. The first annual report is expected in autumn 2017.

We will develop an interactive online facility whereby maternity care providers and commissioners can access timely reports, and benchmark the care provided by their service against other, similar services, regional or national averages, or local or national standards.

Together, these outputs from the audit will allow healthcare professionals, NHS managers, commissioners and policy makers to examine the extent to which current practice meets guidelines and standards and to identify areas for improvement.

Why does the NMPA need the involvement of Women and their Families?

The Audit is concerned with the care delivered to pregnant and postnatal women and their babies. The Audit team are working towards developing a set of indicators that will measure the quality of that care and will provide a reference point for service evaluation and delivery in the future. This information, once collected and analysed, will be made available in a format that is fully accessible by women and their families. In order to do this well, it is important that the voices of those who use obstetric, midwifery and neonatal services in the UK are accounted for. We envisage requiring patient and public input in the following areas:

    Communications with women and their families about the audit, its purpose and how the information is collected and processed;
  • Selecting key interventions and outcomes to assess in the continuous prospective audit and sprint audits;
  • The definition of measures that are particularly important to women and their families;
  • The presentation of information through our website and written reports.

Who will be in the Women and their Families Group?

The group will consist of representatives of six charities, together with eight lay members who have had experience of maternity services within the last three years. This group would meet twice a year at the RCOG (with dialling in/videoconferencing available).

Should I apply?

If you have had a recent experience of birth, either yourself or as a partner, in England, Wales or Scotland – please do apply! We are keen to recruit a panel with a range of experiences of pregnancy and birth, including women with medical complications, with high and low risk pregnancy and birth, and with babies requiring additional care.

How do I apply?

Please read the role description and express your interest by emailing your answers to the questions to by 22nd February 2017.

Download role description here

How will applicants be selected?

We will read the expressions of interest you send (see the role description) and invite shortlisted candidates to have a short, informal telephone interview. Following this, we will inform you if you’ve been successful.

What have you done to enable a wide range of people to be involved?

We are actively seeking to recruit women with a range of experiences of birth, and at least one partner. Travel will be booked for you as required and, if necessary, accommodation will also be provided. We regret that we cannot cover childcare expenditure but babies are welcome to accompany you. There is disabled access to the college and we are able to make any adaptations necessary to the format of meetings.

The RCOG has videoconferencing and teleconferencing facilities which we can help you use if you cannot physically attend, although we would encourage all members to attend the first meeting in person. Launch events for our annual reports will be held outside of London in addition to at the RCOG and we are committed to involving lay members from across the three nations represented in the audit’s work.

The RCOG has a long and successful history of encouraging the involvement of the public in its work. You can find out more about some of the ways the College involves the public here . The Audit is recruiting to this group from across the networks of our partner organisations, and more widely using social media. This process is supported by the team at the RCOG.

When will the meetings be? What if I can’t attend?

We would expect the 2017 meetings to be in the spring and in early autumn. Meetings will take place on a week day at the RCOG in London. We will make every effort to make sure meeting dates suits all members of the group. In addition to the meetings, we will send you emails from time to time asking for your input. We understand that it can be difficult to take part in meetings with a young family, so if you are unable to attend a meeting, that is not a problem. However, if you can’t attend several consecutive meetings, it’s possible that we would ask you to step down to allow someone else to take become involved.

Any other questions?

Contact Kerrianne O’Rourke, RCOG Patient and Public Involvement Coordinator on . If you decide to apply, please read the role description and send your expression of interest to .