Tag Archives: Policy

Evidence-based maternity policy?

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This post is the text of an article I wrote earlier this year, around the time Better Births, the report of the National Maternity Review, was published. The original title was ‘Stillbirth: what politicians and the media fail to understand.’ What I think many fail to understand is figures and their context – and research evidence more broadly.

It seems to me that we can only have consistently evidence-based health policy when we have a  shared commitment in public life, and in public discussion, to a National Information Standard for talking about research evidence, and indeed for promoting public health messages. 

Why do I keep tweeting NICE CG138 s1.5.24 –  which is a National Information Standard, if people will choose use it? Those of you who have read ‘Thinking Fast and Slow‘ will understand why we need it: thinking about risk often involves ‘shortcuts’ and ‘rules of thumb’ that serve well in some cases, and less well in others (another blog post is needed to explore the topic!) We can, of course, support Each Baby Counts and the work of MBRRACE-UK, and acknowledge that addressing stillbirth rates is very important, while being equally clear that each and every time data is presented it must be properly contexualised. It serves women, their babies, and their families, poorly to present information without using absolute figures, framed both ways, (when possible) in a variety of formats.

So I wrote this article to express my frustration – that the public is so often presented with partial information, or information without context. And that this ‘problem with figures’, and indeed with understanding research evidence more broadly, seems to extend to, and affect, public policy initiatives. Continue reading

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The NHS Constitution & The Berwick Report: service user involvement & co-design

Notes for MSLC Members & Maternity Commissioners

The NHS Constitution, and the 160-page Handbook, that accompanies it are interesting & exciting documents. Worth a browse if you are interested in co-design as an MSLC member, whether a service user or professional member. Key to your work if you are a maternity commissioner. Here are some notes from an hour, a cup of coffee, and some musing on what this means for us in maternity (as at 1st May 2016)

So, looking at and working with the NHS Consititution:

  • Some highlights
  • Driving improvement in maternity care
  • Designing services
  • A message to Commissioners – benefits of involvement & co-design

Continue reading

The history of maternity care – knowing the journey matters

The starting point for this post is an article about birth, from The Guardian, in December 2014. It was published in response to the updated clinical guideline NICE CG190 Intrapartum Care – care of healthy women and their babies during childbirth.

The Guardian article:
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/03/hospital-childbirth-misconception-home-reversing-nice-guidelines

We talked about this article on the #MatExp Facebook group in September this year. This is an edited version of what I said in reply to concerns there that the tone of the article might be seen as offensive towards the medical profession: Continue reading