The aims of the Maternity and Neonatal Safety Improvement Programme are to:

  • Improve the safety and outcomes of maternity and neonatal care for all women, babies and families in England by reducing unwarranted variations in care and experience of care
  • Help reduce maternal and neonatal deaths, stillbirths and brain injuries that occur during or soon after birth by 50 per cent by 2025 – a national target set out in Better Births.

The programme focuses on five areas of improvement:

  • Increasing the proportion of smoking-free pregnancies
  • Optimising and stabilising very preterm infants
  • Detecting and managing diabetes in pregnancy
  • Detecting and managing low blood sugar (neonatal hypoglycaemia) in pregnancy
  • Early recognition and management of physical deterioration of mothers or babies during labour and immediately after birth (early postpartum)


The PReCePT Programme is a quality improvement project designed to reduce the incidence of cerebral palsy through the administration of magnesium sulphate to eligible preterm mothers across England.

Find out more 


Placental Growth Factor (PIGF)

All maternity units in the North West Coast are being supported to adopt Placental Growth Factor (PlGF) based tests to reduce hospital admissions of women at risk of pre-eclampsia.

Pre-eclampsia occurs in around three per cent of pregnancies. It is thought to be related to complications in the development of the placenta, and can have serious consequences for mothers and babies if untreated. To date there is no definitive test to diagnose pre-eclampsia and the only way to cure it is to deliver the baby.

PlGF is being fast-tracked into the NHS as part of the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative, supported by the AHSN Network. PIGF-based testing can help identify the level of risk for women with suspected pre-eclampsia, allowing women to return to community care or be monitored at home instead of being admitted to hospital.

An improvement collaborative is being led by the Innovation Agency Coaching Academy which is open to all North West Coast maternity unit staff. The aim is to achieve PIGF-based testing in all women who present with suspected pre-eclampsia between 20 and 34 weeks.

For users of NHS Futures, further resources are available here.

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