FINANCE: The foundation has written to the chief executives of all trusts delivering 5,000 or more children a year to consider forming a “national alliance”, as part of its effort to lobby against changes to the maternity tariff.

In a report to the foundation’s April board meeting, chief executive Kathryn Thomson said she and the chief executive of Birmingham Women’s Foundation Trust had written a series of joint letters “concerning the future of high quality maternity services in the light of the 2011-12 tariff.

“In a letter to Sir David Nicholson, NHS chief executive, we have invited discussion in respect of the maternity tariff and the ability of provider organisations to deliver maternity service income and expenditure balance.

“We explain that both trusts are below 100 on the reference cost index and yet the 2011-12 tariff will mean losses of £2.1m for Liverpool Women’s and £2.5m for Birmingham Women’s.”

They CEOs have also written to the King’s Fund think tank to ask for “an opportunity to explore whether there is a piece of work around ‘what the tariff affords’ and what this means for service provision versus current policy”.

“Finally, we have written to the chief executives of all trusts delivering 5,000 plus births each year to ask them to consider forming an alliance to allow discussion and debate and identify approaches to raising key issues at a national level,” she wrote.

The minutes of the foundation’s previous board meeting on 4 March recorded finance director Vanessa Harris as saying “trusts in London were understood to be facing obstetric cover difficulties and she had discussed with them and Birmingham Women’s a proposal to form a suitable cohort of trusts to share benchmark data and to lobby for maternity care to be classed as a designated service.”