We were really pleased to welcome everyone to our latest Maternity and Neonatal Partnership Meeting. We had three service users attend (along with some babies and toddlers) and seven representatives from community groups, representing the voice of service users. 18 NHS/public health professionals, including midwives, GPs and health visitors, also attended. In total we had 31 adults.

The purpose of these events is to bring everyone together, discuss the current situation within maternity and neonatal care, listen to feedback about women and birthing people’s experiences and co-produce ideas and solutions. These can then be taken away as actions to improve services.

An overview of each focus group is below. These will now be discussed at the Maternity Experience Subgroup meeting, to agree actions to take forward.

Thank you to everyone who attended, shared their experience, and took part in the discussions.

Focus group – urgent and emergency

Through our community engagement, we often hear women and birthing people talking about being told they needed an urgent intervention or that they had an emergency within their care, such as needing an urgent scan or an urgent induction of labour. These inventions often then take days or weeks to be offered. Sometimes the sense of urgency does not match up with the action taken.
We held a group activity looking at what urgent and emergency means to the general public, compared to what this means in a clinical setting.

Suggested language from the discussion

  • Move away from using the terms urgent and emergency, and instead use time frames – such as ‘we would like to offer you a scan within 5 days’
    • Encourage women and birthing people to call the service if they do not hear after the time frame given
  • Consider the term ‘additional’, e.g., ‘we would like to offer you an additional scan to check your baby’.


  • We need to consider how the words ‘urgent’ and ‘emergency’ are translated for those who have English as an additional language. Would the time frame suggestion above be more appropriate?
  • The terms ‘urgent’ and ‘emergency’ can feel like a shift in power, transferring decision making to the clinicians. Need to ensure that women and birthing people are involved in the decision making.
  • Is there an agreed time scale of what is urgent and what is an emergency?

Focus group – postnatal ward poster

A poster has been created for the postnatal ward to welcome women, birthing people and their families, and give an introduction to the ward. We reviewed the poster and discussed what could be changed, improved or added.

Everyone agreed it would be best to make the information available before baby is born, perhaps at the 36 week midwife check and also available on Badgernet.

The poster is currently printed and left on bedsides, which means it is difficult for people who use translators or screen readers, or need other adaptations.

The group felt that some of the wording could be changed to better reflect informed choice/consent.

The MNVP will feed this back through the Trust maternity experience group and discuss options for leaflet or webpage, so that we can then coproduce the information given.

Focus group – tongue tie

Women and birthing people told us that they wanted a focus group around tongue tie. As an MNVP, we often get feedback and questions about tongue tie, from families finding it hard to get a diagnosis and/or access the service.

Women and birthing people in this focus group shared their experience, and we had the input of community feeding support organisations and three midwives, two of whom are from the infant feeding team.


  • Long wait times for diagnosis and division of tongue tie
  • The need to look holistically at all the issues around feeding, as it is not always tongue tie that is the problem, and some babies feed well with a tongue tie.

Focus group – GP 6-8 week postnatal appointment

The MNVP has heard from women and birthing people that the 6-8 week postnatal appointment offer is sporadic across the county. This was also evident in the free text CQC data. This focus group had two GPs in it to share what is happening within their practices, as well as a range of health and social care professional, safety leads, VSCE organisations and advocacy/listening organisations.


  • Time constraints  – difficult to cover all topics in the appointment
  • Some practises offer double appointments for the postnatal check, and some only a single.
  • Many GP’s are still referring to this appointment as the ‘baby check’ and this needs to change. How can we support GPs to change this language and culture?
  • Appointment could happen at 8 weeks to coincide with the 8 week baby vaccinations.
  • It would be useful to have a prompt sheet of what resources are available locally to signpost, such as, breastfeeding , debriefs, physio, perinatal mental health support.
  • There is a model in some GP practices which proactively books the postnatal check in when the GP practice has been made aware that there has been a birth, which has simplified the process for families to access this appointment.
  • How can women and birthing people prepare for these appointments? What do they want to talk about, how to look after their baby if they need stitches/wounds checked.

Ideas for next focus groups

  • IVF support – gaps in pathways
  • Care after birth
  • Staffing – Solutions and staff attitudes

Next meeting

Our next Maternity and Neonatal Partnership Meeting will be on Wednesday 12th June at the Friendship Cafe.

Find out more and book a place here.