New Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate Role Pilot Launched in Mid and South Essex

Published on: May 3, 2024

A new role being piloted in mid and south Essex is now available to support women and families who experience an adverse outcome during their maternity or neonatal care.

Maternity and neonatal independent senior advocates help ensure the voices of women and families are listened to, heard and acted upon by their maternity and neonatal care providers when they have experienced an adverse outcome any time during their maternity and neonatal care. This may have been a recent experience or happened some time ago.

The service has been launched in response to recommendations set out in the Ockenden review, which looked into maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust.

An adverse outcome is a serious incident or an outcome that may require further formal investigation such as:

  • A baby has died before they were born
  • A baby has died in the days or weeks after they were born
  • The mother has died
  • The mother had an unexpected or unplanned removal of her womb (within 6 weeks of giving birth)
  • The mother had an unexpected time of care in the critical or intensive care unit
  • The mother was diagnosed with a brain injury or a brain injury was suspected.

Maternity and neonatal independent senior advocates can support women, service users and families by providing advocacy, helping them understand the maternity and neonatal healthcare system, attending follow up meetings where concerns about maternity or neonatal care are being discussed, and supporting them through investigation and complaints processes.

Sarah Paxman, Maternity and Neonatal Independent Senior Advocate for mid and south Essex can be contacted directly, or women, families or services users can ask a member of staff from the hospital Trust, a GP or the Integrated Care Board to do this on their behalf.

The maternity and neonatal independent senior advocate is independent from NHS Trusts, and reports to the Integrated Care Board.

Dr Giles Thorpe, Executive Chief Nursing Officer for Mid and South Essex Integrated Care Board said, “While adverse outcomes in maternity care, such as brain injury or death for a mother or child, are very rare, it is vital that families are supported through these particularly difficult times, and that they are listened to and heard by their maternity and neonatal care providers.

“This new pilot will provide an advocate who can help families navigate the processes and signpost them to the best support available.

“We are pleased to be one of the first areas in the country to have this important role in our community.”

The service was co-produced by NHS England working alongside maternity and neonatal service users and staff.

Those who would like support from a maternity and neonatal independent senior advocate do not need to be sure that there were mistakes or negligence in the mother or baby’s care to ask for support.  There is no charge for any support given, and an interpreter can be made available if needed.


Share this page with others

Community News

  • Earth Day & St George’s Day
  • Become a Family Mentor!
  • Foster Care Fortnight 2024
  • Little Heroes ASD Support Forever Hub

Community Information

  • Companies House Fees Information
  • Carers Week 2024 – Southend Carers
  • Community Event and Walk-in Vaccination Clinic
  • SSIF Second Seminar of the Year! Transitions up to End of School Year 8

Join our Mailing List

Stay up to date with the latest News, Events, Jobs and Funding Opportunities in Southend.