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Reinstate the Maternity Safety Training Fund
We are calling on the Government to reinstate the Maternity Safety Training Fund as a matter of urgency. An open letter with a formal request, signed by dozens of high-profile individuals and organisations, has been delivered to the Prime Minister. The letter can be found here. In the UK, most pregnancies and births end happily; however, when they don’t the suffering is long-lasting and pervasive for families and all staff involved in their care. Each year in England, there are thousands of cases of stillbirth, neonatal death, and brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation at birth. We know that many of these tragic outcomes are avoidable with different care. High-quality training has been a central recommendation to improve care for decades. When an £8.1m Maternity Safety Training Fund was released in 2016, it gave over 30,000 maternity healthcare professionals access to training that they would not otherwise have had. Despite independent evaluation showing an overwhelmingly positive impact, the fund was not continued beyond its first year. Since then, there has been a significant decrease in the levels of training. The justification for reinstating the fund must always be the prevention of these devastating outcomes, but there will also be a considerable financial benefit for the NHS. The value of maternity claims received by the NHS in 2018/19 was £2.5bn - around £7m per day. Individual claims can be settled for tens of millions of pounds. We are asking the Government to provide a dedicated annual fund of £19m to allow high-quality multi-professional training for maternity teams across the country. Such a fund will: Save lives and prevent devastating outcomes Save the NHS money Provide support for our hard-working NHS workforce Even if just one professional picks up one piece of knowledge that saves a life, it could have the potential to save a lot of unnecessary human and financial cost. Continuing Professional Development has historically been undervalued within the NHS when compared to other sectors. It is not too late to address this issue - it is time to reinstate the Maternity Safety Training Fund.