Maternity services

We want families in Kent and Medway to have access to excellent maternity and neonatal services.

To fulfil this vision, we want to transform the current services across the county and we’re working with expectant and new parents to do so.

The Kent and Medway Local Maternity System (LMS) is part of our Sustainability and Transformation Plan’s (STP) Children and Young People workstream. The LMS is transforming care for local people as set out in the national Better Births report.

Like the STP, the LMS is a collaborative partnership not an organisation. Everyone involved with childbirth in Kent and Medway is part of our Local Maternity System.

What do we want to do?

  • Ensure as many women as possible have the same midwife or professional caring for them throughout their pregnancy, birth and early weeks with a new baby
  • Prioritise the mental health of women and men affected by the challenging experiences of childbearing
  • Reduce stillbirth, neonatal death, brain injury and preterm birth by implementing the most recent Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle
  • Support the work of MatNeo and encourage teams to focus on safety, continuous improvement and learning from incidents
  • Prioritise pelvic health and offer physiotherapy for the one third or more of women who suffer incontinence or prolapse following pregnancy or birth
  • Support Baby Friendly accreditation for all LMS partners to help parents make the healthiest choices when feeding and caring for their babies
  • Improve neonatal critical care with service improvements, staff development and support for parents to become more involved in their babies’ care.

What do maternity services look like now?

Around 23,000 babies are born in Kent and Medway each year. Our population is expected to grow by 5% in the next five years so that number will continue to rise.

In Kent and Medway, you can choose to have your baby at home, in one of six birth centres under the care of a midwife, or in one of five delivery suites supported by a team of midwives, anaesthetists and obstetricians in a hospital.

Medway NHS Foundation Trust: Medway Maritime Hospital has a delivery suite, ‘The Birth Place’ midwifery-led birth centre and the Oliver Fisher neonatal care unit.

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust: There is a delivery suite, birth centre, and special care baby unit at Darent Valley Hospital.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust: There is a delivery suite at Tunbridge Wells Hospital and birth centres in the grounds of Maidstone Hospital and Crowborough War Memorial Hospital. There is also a neonatal unit at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust: There are delivery suites, midwife-led birth centres and neonatal units at both William Harvey Hospital, Ashford and QEQM Hospital, Margate.

Babies needing the most intensive care in Kent and Medway are looked after at William Harvey Hospital, Ashford or Medway Maritime Hospital.

After your baby is born

Health visiting teams from Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust and Medway Community Healthcare support families from the birth of a baby until the child goes to school full-time. This includes health checks, breastfeeding support, immunisations and minor illnesses.

Get involved

Wherever you live in Kent or Medway it is easy to get involved with influencing improvements in maternity and neonatal services via your local Maternity Voices Partnerships. These are committees of people who use or have used maternity services, health professionals, people working in maternity care and commissioners.

Your local partnership would like to have feedback of your experiences, whether the experience was excellent, or you feel it could have been better.

By looking at themes in feedback and ideas for improvement, your involvement will help us transform maternity services.

North Kent: Contact North Kent Maternity Voices Partnership (Dartford and Gravesham)  on Facebook, by email or on their website.

Medway: Contact Medway Maternity Voices Partnership on Facebook, Instagram or by email.

West Kent: Contact Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Maternity Voices Partnership on Facebook, by email or on their website.

East Kent: Contact East Kent Maternity Voices Partnership on Facebook or by email.

We’re also keen to create a database of people who would like to be kept informed about maternity and neonatal services in Kent and Medway and hear about other ways to get involved. If you’d like to be kept informed, please contact comms.kentandmedway@nhs.net

 

What have we done so far?

  • Established the Kent and Medway Local Maternity System Executive Board including senior clinicians and stakeholders
  • Established four new Maternity Voice Partnerships across Kent to ensure that the public are encouraged to get involved in designing and evaluating the maternity service as transformation takes place
  • Developed and updated the Local Maternity System transformation plan in line with the National Maternity Transformation program, recruiting local experts to lead key workstreams including Quality and Safety, Choice and Personalisation, Continuity of Carer
  • Built strong links with Quality and Safety Leads within provider Trusts and begun work on standardising care pathways across Kent and Medway to reduce unfairness and differences between areas

What are the next steps?

  • We will continue to listen to what women and families want
  • Keep people involved with maternity care in Kent and Medway informed of our plans
  • Implement the transformation plan.

For more information about the Kent and Medway Local Maternity System contact wkccg.km.lms@nhs.net

Your feedback

We want to know what you think about maternity services in Kent and Medway. Email us at comms.kentandmedway@nhs.net and tell us the following information:

Have you used maternity services in the past two years?

If so, where?

What was good about your experience of maternity services?

What could we improve?

Would you like to be involved with developing maternity services further by attending a workshop? If so, please let us know: comms.kentandmedway@nhs.net

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