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Maternity Services Review:
Service Improvement Activities

Improvement Event Success

Over 50 people attended a service improvement event held in August 2010, including staff and public representatives from across Grampian. Participants looked critically at every step of the 'patient pathway' to decide which steps add value, which steps are needed for administrative reasons, and which steps are unnecessary. Participants then agreed what the service would look like in an ideal world before looking at what is achievable within the resources available.

Feedback from people who attended the event was very encouraging with three quarters rating all aspects of the event as positive. The Link opens in new windowreport is available to download as a pdf.

The main achievements were:

Service Improvement Priorities

Five priority areas have been agreed and an update on progress is provided below:

1. How the Service is managed

Currently Grampian maternity services are managed separately in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray. However, many women will use services in more than one area. Work is underway to have one Grampian wide maternity service that is delivered across multiple locations. One service, with one budget and one management structure will improve communication between staff; lead to women receiving more consistent care and advice no matter where they live; and ensure resources are more fairly distributed and used more efficiently and effectively.

2. Setting up a Triage System

Currently, when women think they are in labour or have any concerns, they often phone the hospital; when that happens, they are not always given consistent advice and may be asked to come into hospital when they don't need to and may experience long waits when they do arrive. Work is underway to set up a triage system which would mean women would phone one telephone number which would be staffed by midwives who will ensure women receive advice, care and treatment that is appropriate to their needs.

3. Improving Length of Stay

Up until recently, many women have stayed in hospital longer after giving birth than they need to. Unnecessary long stays after normal births have now been significantly reduced, and this has released beds and staff time for those women who do need to stay in hospital for longer. Routine transfer has now been introduced in all areas of Grampian.

4. Labour Ward & Theatre Review

In Aberdeen Maternity Hospital (AMH), the majority of births happen in the Labour Ward, Midwives Unit and Labour Ward Theatre. Following feedback from staff and women, this was identified as an area where improvements could be made.  The labour ward review aims to improve the level of one to one care offered to women and to map a woman's journey into theatre to identify delays and problems which can be addressed to help provide a better experience during labour and birth. 

5. Antenatal Clinics and Scanning

Currently, we know that some women can experience long delays in the scanning department at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital or have to attend on different days for scanning and clinic appointments. Work is underway to change the way clinics are run to reduce waiting times and reduce unnecessary journeys for women and their partners.