The Maternity Transformation Fund: Using blended finance to drive innovations in outcomes for mothers and babies

We are collaborating with the NHS, Voluntary Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs), foundations, and investors to transform maternity care. 

Our goal is to help raise an initial £5 million in blended finance, to leverage £12 million in service expenditure. The partnership, initially launching service innovations in Oxfordshire, will deliver a pipeline of projects to share learning and shape practice nationally.

Why are we doing this?

The Maternity Transformation Fund has emerged in response to a pressing need identified by system leaders, clinicians, and service user advocacy groups: the improvement of maternal and neonatal safety. 

Maternity care in the UK is safe by global standards. However, data reported by MBRRACE UK highlights the challenges that maternity services face and the inequalities seen across communities.

The human and financial cost is too great to ignore. In 2021/22 NHS Resolution paid out £900 million in relation to past obstetric negligence cases, compared to current NHS spend of around £3 billion on maternity services. Suicide is the leading cause of death in the perinatal period (pregnancy and one year postpartum). 

Maternal mortality rates in the UK have risen to levels not seen in 20 years, and there are significant disparities in outcomes based on ethnicity and deprivation. Black and Asian women are 3.8x and 1.8x respectively more likely to die compared to white women, and women living in the most deprived areas continue to have the highest maternal mortality rate.

The reinvestment concept is spot on for sustainability and incentivisation. I am surrounded by so many smart people that can do marvellous things that can change the future, but they don’t have the headspace or have access to the funds that can make it happen.

NHS Service Manager 

What we are doing

Outcomes-based funding

The Maternity Transformation Fund will use blended finance to fund a portfolio of interventions. If achieved, pre-set, measurable, outcomes (pertaining to maternal and neonatal care improvements and value creation for the health system) will trigger payments to the Fund by the outcomes funder; initially, in this case, Oxford University Hospitals. 

During the life of the Fund, outcomes payments will also be recycled in the Fund, delivering a modelled £12 million in services over six years for £5 million of initial financing.

An outcomes-based model, unique in maternity, can: provide crucial NHS resources in the context of inadequate maternity funding; shift the focus towards prevention; offer multi-year investment for outcomes-based contracts; empower communities and health teams; and drive accountability for performance and spending.

Funded interventions

The Fund will initially include an inspiring portfolio of clinician and service user-led interventions. The interventions focus on prevention, equity, mental health, and person-centred care.

  1. AI-enabled continuous risk assessment tool, widely used, with appropriate clinical action; this has the potential to half stillbirth rates.
  2. A strengthened community support offer responding to inequalities in access, experience and outcomes in maternity care for women from underserved communities.
  3. A neonatal virtual ward to provide care in the community (where appropriate) for premature babies; families together and improving system efficiencies and breastfeeding rates.

A pipeline of further nationally scalable interventions, co-produced with service users, is in development to supplement this portfolio. 

The fund

The fund is now open to investors and collaborators who are aligned with our mission and values, and want to guide the future of maternity. 

We aim to launch in summer 2024. Please contact Tara Rowe-Smith for more information.

This is not a financial promotion.

Partners and advisors

Related work

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