What has the AIMS Campaigns Team been up to this quarter?

ISSN 2516-5852 (Online)

AIMS Journal, 2021, Vol 33, No 3

To read or download this Journal in a magazine format on ISSUU, please click here


We have continued to be involved in the But Not Maternity Alliance[1], campaigning for the lifting of restrictions on partners/supporters being admitted throughout the maternity services. We have also been updating our website resources regularly, with the latest guidance for maternity service users in all four nations of the UK.

New campaigns development work:

We are supporting groups of Volunteers to develop our work around our desire to see an end to obstetric violence and our concern that race inequalities in the maternity services are effectively tackled.

Written outputs:

We continued the conversation on ‘Shared Decision Making’, with a blog written by one of our volunteers[2] which was shared across the National Voices community via their website[3].

We wrote to NHS England’s Maternity Transformation Programme[4] team about the quality of NHS antenatal preparation provision and the related issue of the criteria for paid-for maternity services within the NHS.

We wrote to NICE[5] to get them to address our concerns about the initial publicity surrounding the Draft NICE Induction of Labour guideline (which they did), and also responded to the consultation[6]. We have been active on social media on this issue, encouraging others to read and respond to the consultation, and sharing our draft response to support and inform other potential respondents.

We wrote to NICE to highlight our concern that some of their draft guidance put out for consultation does not seem to reflect their own principles[7].

We responded to the NICE consultation on their new proposed guidance on pelvic health.[8]

We co-signed a letter by Professor Lesley Page; Heed Maternity Care Evidence[9] to the Guardian editor in response to the article ‘No evidence and little research - it's no wonder that women and babies continue to die’.[10]

Conferences and meetings attended:

We participated in a special workshop organised by the Maternity Transformation Programme’s Stakeholder Council, to feed into the recently-launched evaluation of the Maternity Transformation Programme (England).

We continue to keep ourselves updated on a wide-range of current issues of relevance to the maternity service improvement community by regularly participating in the thought-provoking weekly Maternity and Midwifery Hour[11] hosted by Sue Macdonald.

We participated in the first quarterly meeting of a Royal College of Midwives Re:Birth Project Oversight Group.[12]

We participated in a meeting organised by the Association of Radical Midwives[13] to discuss the proposed update to the NICE guidance around the induction of labour, and were particularly pleased to hear an international research-based perspective at that meeting provided by Hannah Dahlen.

We participated in the inaugural meeting of a Task Force on Decision-Making for Women in Childbirth organised by Open Justice[14] to write some guidelines about how decisions should be made for women who may lack capacity to make their own decisions in childbirth.

We continue to be regular participants in the informative and thought-provoking weekly meetings organised by Caroline Flint as part of the Facebook-based Practical Continuity - setting up continuity of carer in maternity services[15] community of practice, as well as other events that help us to keep updated about the implementation of #ContinuityofCarer.

We continue to attend research seminars organised by Care Opinion[16], seeking to improve understanding about patient feedback and how it can lead to improved services.

We attended an informative online seminar called “Women's Choice in Childbirth. Really?”, organised by Stella Villarmea in collaboration with The Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice in Health and Social Care[17].

We attended an informative NHS webinar on their guidance about personalised care and support planning[18].

We attended a seminar hosted by the Midwifery Unit Network[19], with speakers from the Keep MLU Midwives campaign[20], considering the interplay between the rollout of #ContinuityofCarer and the preservation of the option for labouring and of giving birth in well-managed birth centres.

We participated in an interesting Twitter Q&A event hosted by National Voices, on the issue of co-production[21].

What we have been reading:

The House of Commons Health & Social Care Select Committee’s latest call for improved maternity services in England.

Julia Cumberledge’s address to the recent national event on Better Births Five Years On.

The NMPA’s (National Maternity and Perinatal Audit) Sprint Audit on NHS maternity care for women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above.

The NMPA’s Clinical Report 2019: Based on births in NHS maternity services between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017.

The recruitment material for the next wave of NHS England’s service user voice representatives on the Maternity Transformation Programme.

Thanks to all the AIMS campaigns Volunteers who have made all this work possible. We are very keen to expand our campaigns team work, so please do get in touch with campaigns@aims.org.uk if you’d like to help!

[2] Improving healthcare: is it time to ditch the terminology of 'shared decision making'?: www.nationalvoices.org.uk/blogs/improving-healthcare-time-ditch-terminology-shared-decision-making

[3] National Voices: www.nationalvoices.org.uk

[4] Maternity Transformation Programme: www.england.nhs.uk/mat-transformation

[5] NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence): www.nice.org.uk

[6] AIMS - NICE Inducing Labour Guideline - Consultation on Draft July 2021: www.aims.org.uk/campaigning/item/nice-iol-comments

[7] NICE - The principles that guide the development of NICE guidance and standards: www.nice.org.uk/about/who-we-are/our-principles

[8] NICE - Pelvic floor dysfunction: prevention and non-surgical management - Draft guidance consultation www.nice.org.uk/guidance/indevelopment/gid-ng10123/consultation/html-content-3

[9] Final version of letter by Professor Lesley Page to Guardian Editor: www.theguardian.com/theobserver/commentisfree/2021/jul/11/letters-diana-dream-and-reality

[12] Royal College of Midwives Re:Birth project: www.rcm.org.uk/what-is-the-rebirth-project

[13] Association of Radical Midwives - www.midwifery.org.uk

[14] Open Justice Court of Protection Project - Promoting open justice in the court of protection: openjusticecourtofprotection.org

[15] Practical Continuity - setting up continuity of carer in maternity services: www.facebook.com/groups/maternityCoC

[17]The Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice in Health and Social Care: valuesbasedpractice.org

[18] NHS England: Personalised care and support planning guidance: Guidance for local maternity systems - www.england.nhs.uk/publication/personalised-care-and-support-planning-guidance-guidance-for-local-maternity-systems

[19] Midwifery Unit Network: www.midwiferyunitnetwork.org

[20] Campaign to Keep MLU Midwives: twitter.com/keepmlumidwives

AIMS supports all maternity service users to navigate the system as it exists, and campaigns for a system which truly meets the needs of all.

The AIMS Journal spearheads discussions about change and development in the maternity services. From the beginning of 2018, the journal has been published online and is freely available to anyone with an interest in pregnancy and birth issues. Membership of AIMS continues to support and fund our ability to create the online journal, as well as supporting our other work, including campaigning and our Helpline. To contact the editors, please email: editor@aims.org.uk

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