May 15, 2024

MUSA cited in MNSI report on safety in midwifery units

Assessment against the Midwifery Unit Standards (MUSA) has been recommendedby the Maternity and Newborn Safety Investigations (MNSI, formerly HSIB) programme in their recent report on the delivery of safe care in midwifery units. The national learning report, which features a number of safety observations, was published on 8 May 2024 and is based on analysis of safety incidents in midwifery units. There were a range of themes identified,which they write the "[S]tandards and associated self-assessment questions address".

Assessment of risk has become a key focus for midwifery units since the publication of the Ockenden report in 2022. As MNSI highlights, "self-assessment against the [Midwifery Unit S]tandards provides a prospective risk assessment," with the capacity to include in situ simulation. Importantly, MUSA has been referenced in one of thier safety observations, stating, "Midwifery units can improve patient safety by assessing themselves against the Midwifery Unit Standards to provide a prospective risk assessment and inform any necessary improvement plans."

Our work with NHS England's North East and Yorkshire region has also been featured in the report, describing the regional pilot project we undertook last year with 13 midwifery units and the changes many participating units experienced as a resultof doing MUSA, such as "strengthening of leadership, improvements in estate, updating of guidelines, obstetric and neonatal support, improvements to training and learning".

We welcome the findings of the MNSI programme and acknowledge that there is still much to be done in improving maternity care in England, especially concerning staffing levels and organisational preparedness. Echoing report, we hope these and previous findings on maternity safety will contribute to embedding learning from incidents and support improvement across services.