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New personalised ‘budgets’ give local women more choice during pregnancy

23 January 2018

A new way to give women a choice about the care they receive during pregnancy has proven a hit at Liverpool Women’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (LWH).

Since December 2016, LWH has been offering women accessing maternity services Personal Maternity Care Budgets (PMCBs) - which encourage women to choose where and how they wish to receive their antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care – as part of a pilot initiative aiming to ensure they can access NHS care in the most appropriate place by the most appropriate clinician.

Following the success of the pilot – which has been shortlisted in the ‘Personalised Care’ category at the Patient Experience Network Awards 2018 – LWH will now be continuing with the initiative on a permanent basis.

This move will also see other maternity providers across Cheshire and Merseyside following suit over the coming months, with the full rollout being supported by the Improving Me Women’s and Children’s Services Partnership – an NHS England Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneer.

The ‘budget’ element to PMCB is notional, and refers to the strengthened integration between different providers that the mechanism enables (rather than a formal financial transaction). PMCBs aim to place women in the centre of the maternity pathway, and empower them to make the right choice for them (in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance).

Catherine McClennan, Programme Director at Improving Me, said: “This is a real opportunity to put women at the heart of maternity services and give them meaningful influence over decision making related to their care. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to pioneer this new approach to giving families choice.”

Fiona Bryant, Acting Head of Midwifery at LWH, said “Offering women choice and control is vital in today’s health care and the introduction of the personalised maternity care budget, is a way to empower women to make decisions and choices about the care they specifically want for themselves.”

Local mum Sam Houghton, who took up the PMCB offer at LWH during her pregnancy journey, described the experience as: “an amazing opportunity with great care and support.” She added: “It was nice to think about what’s important to me.”

What is Improving Me?

Improving Me is a partnership of 27 NHS organisations across Cheshire and Merseyside aiming to improve the experiences of women and children. The Partnership is one of NHS England’s Vanguard New Care Model initiatives.

What is a Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneer?

Following NHS England’s National Maternity Review, Maternity Choice and Personalisation Pioneers have been developed to test ways of improving choice and personalisation for women accessing maternity services.  All Pioneers seek to deepen as well as widen the choices available to women across clinical commissioning group (CCG) boundaries.