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Network-wide guidelines

Unwarranted variation in maternity care can cause issues including introducing risks to patient safety, sub-optimal clinical practice and complications for staff who regularly rotate between different units. All this can adversely affect patient care and safety.

Since 2015 the Oxford AHSN Maternity Clinical Network has developed, agreed and implemented sets of clinical guidelines which optimise care across the Oxford AHSN region. Consistency of care and aligning guidelines mitigates potential patient safety issues, especially when women can be seen in more than one hospital during their pregnancy.

The content of these guidelines was written by network members based on best available evidence and current national guidance. The network steering group (which has clinical and midwifery representation from all member trusts) was given the opportunity to comment and amend all guidelines during a three-month consultation period. The guidelines are also linked into the Local Maternity System (LMS) and are presented in this forum for high-level agreement.

Building on this initial set, stakeholders put forward suggestions for further guideline alignment. With this and local needs in mind, a new set of guidelines was chosen. These guidelines are now embedded, or in the process of being embedded, in each trust in the region.

Ratified and agreed guidelines

The current agreed and ratified network-wide guidelines are:

Rhesus bundle:

Extreme preterm bundle:

Magnesium sulfate 

Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)

Improving the use of placental histology

Perinatal Palliative Care Framework

Oxytocin for the Augmentation of Labour

Cardiotocograph (CTG) Interpretation Package

Cervical Length in the Prevention of Spontaneous and Severe Preterm Birth (collaboration with the Patient Safety Academy)

Improving the Care of Women with Medical Problems in Pregnancy

Soluble FlT / PlGF Ratio in the Management of Suspected Preeclampsia

Guidelines in development

The Maternity Network Steering Group has agreed to tackle the following across the Oxford AHSN region:

  • Reduced Fetal Movement (RFM) Audit – the audit is currently at the regional analysis stage. Once common themes have been identified, if appropriate, the network will develop regional guidelines and care pathways
  • Pre-Eclamptic Toxaemia (PET) – a regional guideline developed with Dr Deborah Harrington, Consultant in Obstetrics and Fetomaternal Medicine at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Head of School for the Oxford Deanery
  • Induction of Labour Concept – a prioritisation system for the induction of labour which takes into account risk, conditions affecting the pregnancy and gestation
  • Post-Partum Haemorrhage (PPH) – a guideline in development with network registrars; based on already existing guidance
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