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Helping people speak up about their NHS birthing and neonatal care.

Generally, when women and birthing people receive care from the NHS it's high quality and compassionately delivered, however this isn't always the case. 

Following the highly reported on Ockenden Review into the maternity services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, it has been recommended that an independent advocacy role be established to support individuals to voice concerns and experiences in relation to their care. 

Donna Ockenden, Midlife and Community Activist said:

"We wanted to ensure that families’ voices were central as, for far too long, women and families who accessed maternity care at the trust were denied the opportunity to voice their concerns about the quality of care they had received. Many hundreds of families who received maternity care at the trust have told us of experiencing life-changing tragedies that have caused untold pain and distress. In order to ensure families’ voices are heard, listened to and acted upon within maternity services, the NHS will need to continue progress on the role of the independent senior advocate role within maternity service... "

These recommendations have been taken forward by NHS England in the form of pilot projects taking place across England. 

People First are proud to be supporting women, birthing people and their families and launching the North East and North Cumbria's Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate team.

This pioneering pilot aims to provide invaluable support to people who have experienced "adverse outcomes" during their maternity and neonatal care and navigate the complexities of maternity and neonatal healthcare. 

Samantha Allen, Chief Executive, North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board said:

"Women and families need to know that if they have any concerns about their experience of NHS maternity and neonatal services in the North East and North Cumbria, they will be listened to and can get the help they need to ensure their concerns are investigated correctly and are supported throughout the process.
"We know it can be challenging going through a complaints and investigation process, this free independent service will help support them, as much as they need, to voice their views and wishes to other people, as well as help understand the options available to them."

People First offers a free service designed to empower individuals to articulate their views and preferences within the healthcare system. Our dedicated advocates will guide and assist people in understanding healthcare processes, attending meetings, and navigating investigations and complaints procedures. 

Crucially, the Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocates are employed by People First, ensuring independence from the NHS and affiliated trusts.

About Maternity and Neonatal Independent Advocates, CEO David Blacklock said:

"When things don't go as they should, people often feel overwhelmed, scared and angry. Independent Senior Advocates, who do not work for the NHS, and are independent from the NHS services will provide essential support, information and help people to have a voice. 

This service will be powerful for anyone who needs someone by their side in, what could be, one the darkest moments."

Throughout this pilot, People First will ensure the voices of mothers, birthing people and families are heard with in the healthcare system. For more information about the Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocates initiative, please click this link to go to our web page, or you can: