Maternal and neonatal health safety collaborative


A three-year programme to support improvement in the quality and safety of maternity and neonatal units across England.

Aims of the programme

The Maternal and Neonatal Health Safety Collaborative is a three-year programme, launched in February 2017. The collaborative is led by our Patient Safety team and covers all maternity and neonatal services across England.

We aim to:

  • to improve the safety and outcomes of maternal and neonatal care by reducing unwarranted variation and provide a high quality healthcare experience for all women, babies and families across maternity and neonatal care settings in England
  • contribute to the national ambition, set out in Better Births of reducing the rates of maternal and neonatal deaths, stillbirths, and brain injuries that occur during or soon after birth by 20% by 2020

Our support offer

We support frontline staff to create the conditions for continuous improvement, a safety culture and a national maternal and neonatal learning system. 

Our support offer is spilt into three annual waves, 44 trusts took part in wave 1 and now in the second year of the programme, we are working with 43 trusts across England. Nominated improvement leads from each of these trusts will build their knowledge of improvement theory by attending nine days of learning sessions during the wave. 

National driver diagram PPTX, 797.0 KB

Sets out the areas of focus for the combined wave of trusts.

The leads will then share their learning with trusts in waves 2 and 3, as we work with them during the second and third years of the collaborative. Through our support they’ll apply these new ideas and approaches to improve clinical practices, ensure a reliable quality of care and measure improvement and impact.

We visit and support each trust to build local capacity in quality improvement and provide structured support to local teams to assess their assess services and develop plans that lead to measurable improvement. 

We intensively coach each trust to run one or more quality improvement projects on one of the five areas of clinical excellence to improve.

These driver diagrams and change packages are a resource that maternal and neonatal healthcare staff can use as part of a systematic improvement approach to improve services for women and babies. The change packages relate to the five clinical priorities outlined in the national driver diagram and set out change ideas, concepts and interventions that can be tested to accomplish the stated project aim. 

These five drivers are underpinned by a strong focus on safety culture, systems and processes, engaging with staff, women and families, and learning from both error and excellence.

Improving the proportion of smoke-free pregnancy

Optimisation and stabilisation of the very preterm infant

Detection and management of diabetes in pregnancy

Detection and management of neonatal hypoglycaemia

Early recognition and management of deterioration of mother or baby

Local learning system (LLS) forum

The local learning systems are ‘improvement forums’ where individuals, across different professions, and from different organisations, come together to share and learn about improvement approaches and outcomes.

The idea is to create learning systems to encourage the sharing and adoption of good practice that will enable maternity and neonatal systems to flourish. Some improvement work, such as smoking cessation, will also benefit from a system level approach in order to deliver a sustainable solution.

To find out more about joining your local learning system please email

Background to our work

The collaborative was announced by the Department of Health in October 2016 and supports the aims of the NHS England's Better births maternity review and the maternity transformation programme.

The maternity transformation programme has nine workstreams, covering a range of topics. The Maternal and Neonatal Health Safety Collaborative falls under Workstream 2: Promoting good practice for safer care.

Contact us

If you would like further information, have any questions about the MNHSC or to get in touch with your local learning system, please email

Partners and useful links

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    • nhsi
    • 24 Jan '17

    resource was opened for discussion.

    • bill.kilvington
    • 29 Jun '17

    Having just found this resource, I thought I was post an opening 'hello' and I look forward to using the forum to share information

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