Foundation Trust aims to deliver outstanding maternity service

BRADFORD Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust has announced it is taking steps to become an outstanding maternity service provider.

The maternity team at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) has launched a two-year programme of work which is set to transform care for women and families throughout the district.

Karen Dawber, Chief Nurse, said: “Around 5,500 women give birth in the Women’s and Newborn Unit every year and the launch of our Outstanding Maternity Services (OMS) programme reflects the dedication of our maternity staff to drive forward changes and improvements in providing the best care to local families and mums-to-be.

“The programme of work is vast and aims to transform care pathways and improve the experience of our women and their families.

“We also want to transform our facilities into an outstanding provision so our Maternity Unit is equipped with the very best modern-day facilities. This is no more than the people of Bradford deserve and will enable our team to better meet the needs of local women.”


The project involves the recently-announced £3.7 million build of two brand new obstetric theatres attached to the labour ward.

“COVID-19 has also had an impact on our services and the way we deliver them, as well as on the people using the services.  We want to keep those areas that have worked well and improve the way we deliver our services,” added Karen.

“Outstanding services do not just happen; they happen because the people using the service or giving the care are jointly sighted on a vision that is so special it becomes simply the right thing to do.”

Alison Powell, Midwifery Lead for the OMS programme, said: we are working directly with the Bradford District and Craven Maternity Voices Partnership to ensure improvements are co-designed and fully informed by service user input.

“We want to make a commitment to our women and babies that, to meet their needs now and in the future, this programme will review the way we do things to ensure they are central to everything we do and how we do them.

Continual improvement

“We will also make a commitment to our current and future workforce that Bradford’s Women’s and Newborn Unit is and will be somewhere where creativity, imagination and innovation flourish, where people are actively encouraged to participate in research and continual improvement.”

The OMS programme will involve every one of the Trust’s 450 Maternity Unit staff who care for mothers and babies.

Last summer, the programme board developed its vision after consulting widely with colleagues in the maternity service, internal and external stakeholders, the Maternity Voices Partnership and women who are currently using or have used the service.

The programme’s five workstreams are already under way and include: investing in the trust’s workforce, ensuring buildings are fit for the future, the women’s journey and clinical excellence, moving to digital working and linking learning and quality through our information.

The Trust wants to ensure there is consistency in the way data is recorded and extracted to accurately inform and support embedding a culture of continual improvement, transformation, and learning.


To put Bradford in context – here are some interesting facts about our population demographics and related challenges:

  • High levels of deprivation – 14 wards in Bradford are in the top 10% most deprived in the country, and Bradford ranks as the 11th most deprived local authority area.  Bradford ranks at number 1 for health inequalities and has the lowest life expectancy in the country.  Factors affecting both include poor housing, levels of education, diet, exercise, and employment.
  • A quarter of the population are aged under 20 – that’s the third highest percentage of children under 16 in the country
  • Around 30% of the population is of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) origin, particularly south Asian who have a higher chances of suffering from Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease, all of which may result in an increased proportion of higher risk pregnancies with potential impact on outcomes and requirement for complex care planning
  • 11.2% of Bradford’s adult population is registered as obese. 22.3% of Year 6 children are classed as overweight or obese
  • Smoking is in line with the national average at around 20% but women smoking in pregnancy is higher than average, with around 15% of new mothers continuing to smoke through their pregnancy.

2019 Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) maternity activity:

  • 5,465 births
  • 5,731 women booked
  • Around 1% of babies born at term were low birth weight
  • Around 3% of babies were born <34 weeks
  • 46 babies stillborn
  • Around 15% women smoked at the time of delivery
  • Around 15% of births were emergency caesarean; around 8.5% were planned caesarean

Facts about the BRI’s maternity services:

  • The Trust’s Butterfly Pathway was recently shortlisted for a national award in the “outstanding team care” category, and the CQC recognised this as outstanding practice in its April 2020 report. The pathway was launched to support women to continue with pregnancy with poor prognosis or terminal abnormalities and was developed alongside specialist hospice and neonatal colleagues. Families on the pathway are offered support, choices and a care plan from a multidisciplinary team. This allows families to make informed choices and partner in care decisions
  • 1:1 care in labour. During 2020, the Trust put measures in place to improve its rates of 1:1 care in labour. Since May, more than 90% of births have had 1:1 care throughout labour.
  • Continuity of carer: the Trust has successfully implemented continuity of carer in some parts of Bradford, and is looking to roll out the approach further across the district.
  • Since the Homebirth team was created in 2019, the home birth rate in Bradford has tripled from 0.5% of all births to 1.5%. The current caseload of the team reflects 2.5% of women wanting a home birth every month.

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