This World Patient Safety Day, 17 September 2021, is throwing a spotlight on maternal and newborn care which is one of the areas of focused transformation work across Surrey Heartlands. Never has high quality maternal and newborn care been more important, and the Local Maternity and Neonatal System is working together across Surrey to provide services that are reflective of the needs of the women and babies we serve, and which are adapting to provide high quality, safe services.

Taking a collaborative approach to maternity care

The introduction of the Surrey Heartlands ‘Call a Midwife Advice Line’ has made a real impact on reducing risk for women during their pregnancy with over 65,000 calls made to the line each year. The advice line was launched in April 2018 and women and their partners can talk directly to a midwife whenever they need support or advice on anything from movement in the womb and going into labour to breastfeeding and bonding with their baby. At the first signs of labour, women are asked to contact the Call a Midwife Advice Line to make arrangements for the birth of their baby and midwives on the line have access to the availability at each maternity unit in Surrey so women can be directed to the right place to provide the safest care.

The Advice Line is co-located with the South East Coast Ambulance service and has direct support from ambulance staff. Additionally, the South East Coast Ambulance service is one of the first in the country to have a consultant midwife and paramedic working for them to provide specialist advice and knowledge for maternity emergencies. This collaborative approach to working across Surrey helps provide safer services and reduces the risks for pregnant women and their babies. Currently the service is available to those using maternity services at Ashford & St Peter’s Hospitals, Royal Surrey County Hospital, and Epsom & St Helier Hospitals. East Surrey Hospital will also be offering the service in the near future.

Midwives are available on the Advice Line 24/7 by calling 0300 123 5473 or emailing for non-urgent enquiries.

Sharing our learning

Sharing learning and understanding across all maternity and neonatal services after an incident is crucial for improving safety and reducing risk. Earlier this summer, Surrey Heartlands set up a Maternity and Neonatal Serious Incident Review and Closure Panel to help ensure that all incidents are investigated appropriately and that lessons learnt are shared across all of the maternity units in Surrey Heartlands.

The Panel meets monthly and links to the national ambition to halve the rates of stillbirths, neonatal deaths, maternal deaths and brain injuries during birth by 2025. It also builds on the recommendations from the recent Ockenden Report which reviewed maternity services at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

Panel chair, Dr Paul Crawshaw, said: “By working together, sharing our learning and implementing recommendations across the system in Surrey we can really start to make a difference. By being open and transparent about where we need to improve we can help to ensure our maternity and neonatal services are the safest they can be, every day.”

If you would like to learn more about the Panel or the Advice Line please contact