• Every trust with maternity services applied for funding to reduce baby deaths
  • Barts Health Trust received largest share of the £8m fund
  • Programmes could create STP-wide training hubs

A training fund set up by the Department of Health to reduce baby deaths in England was oversubscribed by 25 per cent after every trust running maternity units submitted bids.

All 134 acute trusts with maternity services will receive a share of the £8.1m funding to train staff to reduce stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths, and brain injuries during birth by 20 per cent by 2020.

Two organisations supporting maternity services will also receive funding and some trusts will receive less than the £40,000 each previously pledged by Jeremy Hunt.

Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Health Education England’s nursing director, said: “Every NHS trust with a maternity unit benefited from the training fund.

“A few trusts bid for an amount under £40,000 based on their individual training plan for delivery, ensuring value for money training for their respective maternity service.

“Some trusts had also previously received funding from other safety improvement programmes.”

She said cardiotocography would form part of the training after an HSJ investigation highlighted failure to properly monitor and respond to warning signs in babies’ heart rates as a major safety concern.

Training will also focus on team leadership, multi-professional team working and communication, human factors training, and foetal growth and monitoring.

Barts Health Trust received the largest individual funding allocation, with £117,888 awarded for teamworking and communication, skills and drills, and cultural capabilities training. Royal Cornwall Hospitals FT received £105,567.

Blackpool Teaching Hospitals FT, East Lancashire Teaching Hospitals FT and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals FT received £200,000 for their bid covering their sustainability and transformation partnership patch.

The remaining organisations received funding ranging from £7,990 to £83,226.

Funding has been passed to four regional teams covering the North, South, London and South East, and Midlands and East, for distribution to trusts.

Professor Bayliss-Pratt said trusts without maternity services were only considered for funding if their training plan supported maternity care providers.

She said some plans would lead to the development of community training hubs across STP footprints and networks of maternity trusts.

Other plans involved the creation of “maternity champions” in ambulance services and emergency maternity care support.

“These training programmes will support direct providers of maternity care and ensure better integration between services and multi-professional working across organisations,” she said.

Training programmes are due to be completed by March next year. HEE will then commission an independent evaluation to assess how trusts have improved quality and safety in maternity services, to report back to the Department of Health.