The Maternity and Neonatal Safety Improvement Programme (MatNeoSIP)

The programme works with all maternity and neonatal providers in our region on a range of key improvement workstreams, aiming to reduce the rate of stillbirths, neonatal death and brain injuries.

MatNeoSIP builds on the work of the Maternal and Neonatal Health Safety Collaborative, a three-year programme, launched nationally in February 2017.

Programme aims

The MatNeoSIP aims to:

    • Support the development of national pathway approach for the effective management of maternal and neonatal deterioration using the plan/prevention, identification, escalation and response (PIER) framework across all settings by March 2024.
    • Work with key stakeholders to support the development of a national maternal early warning score (MEWS) and spread to all providers by March 2024.
    • Support the spread and adoption of the neonatal early warning ‘trigger and track’ score (NEWTT) to all maternity and neonatal services by March 2023.

A stronger start in life – Right place of birth

When a baby is going to be born prematurely, particularly when the baby is less than 27 weeks, it is vital that the very best experts in neonatal critical care are present to provide the best possible outcome. This means, when possible, ensuring babies less than 27 weeks are delivered in a maternity unit with a level three neonatal critical care unit attached, of which there are three in the East of England – the Rosie Hospital in Cambridge, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and Luton and Dunstable Hospital.

In our region, this was identified as an area that could be greatly improved and would make a substantial difference to women and their babies. In our region, the Right place of birth project has led to the roll out of two interventions:

  1. The Fit for Transfer handover tool – to ensure all the trusts communicated information in the same format.
  2. Working collaboratively with the Neonatal Operational Delivery Network and Regional Maternity Transformation Team to deliver the agreed in-utero transfer document with all clinicians across the East of England to strengthen the pathway for these women/birthing people likely to deliver very premature babies.

From the beginning of 2020, all 11 of the maternity units in the Eastern region adopted the Fit for Transfer handover tool and increased awareness of the importance of women giving birth in the right place. During that period the East of England had 81% of its premature babies born in level three neonatal critical care units, this was an increase of over 20% since the project initiated. There is still variation in the system, but work is underway to build reliability.

“The project empowered our midwives because when they transferred a woman they felt confident they had provided all the necessary information to give her the best possible outcome and when they received a woman, they had a greater knowledge of the care required and could prepare accordingly. I’m thrilled to hear the project has sustained. It is a great example of a national directive implemented with local knowledge.”

Jo Knox, local learning lead on the Right place of birth project in Norfolk

Ensuring long term sustainability

Since the first wave of the COVID pandemic the number of premature babies born in a maternity unit with a NICU across our region has varied monthly. We continue to work closely with all stakeholders to build quality improvement capacity and capability in order to reduce this variation, build sustainability and ensure as many neonates are born in a maternity unit with a NICU. It is hoped this will lead to improved outcomes and experiences of women, birthing people and their babies. The Neonatal Operational Delivery Network (ODN) produces monthly Right place of birth reports, and Quarterly Joint Optimisation Forum meetings occur to share learning and plan regional next steps.

Find out more about the Maternity and Neonatal Safety Improvement Programme (MatNeoSIP)

For more information, please contact Tendai Nzirawa, Maternity Clinical Improvement Lead at

You can access all of the East of England Neonatal Network guidelines and up to date news and resources on their website.

What are NatPatSIPs?

The National Patient Safety Improvement Programmes (NatPatSIPs) support a culture of safety, continuous learning and sustainable improvement across the healthcare system. They are run by the Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs), which are funded and nationally coordinated by NHS England and NHS Improvement and hosted locally by the Health Innovation Networks.

Find out more…

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