Learning and Action Network (LAN)


Image of senior leaders and sites from the launch of the Learning and Action Network on the 24th January 2024 in London. 

The NHS Race and Health Observatory, in partnership with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and supported by the Health Foundation, has established an innovative 15-month, peer-to-peer Learning and Action Network to address the gaps seen in severe maternal morbidity, perinatal mortality and neonatal morbidity between women of different ethnic groups.

Across England, nine NHS Trusts and Integrated Care Systems will participate in this action oriented, fast-paced Learning and Action Network to improve outcomes in maternal and neonatal health. Through the Network, the nine sites will aim to address the gaps seen in severe maternal morbidity, perinatal mortality and neonatal morbidity between women of different ethnic groups. Haemorrhage, preterm birth, post-partum depression and gestational diabetes have been identified as some of the priority areas for the programme.

The sites will generate tailored action plans with the aim of identifying interventions and approaches that reduce health inequalities and enhance anti-racism practices and learning from the programme. These will be evaluated and shared across and between healthcare systems.

The Network, the first of its kind for the NHS, will combine Quality Improvement methods with explicit anti-racism principles to drive clinical transformation, and aims to enable system-wide change.  Over a series of action, learning and coaching sessions, participants will review policies, processes and workforce metrics; share insights and case studies; and engage with mothers, parents, pregnant women and people.

The programme will run until June 2025, supported by an advisory group from the NHS Race and Health Observatory, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and experts in midwifery, maternal and neonatal medicine.

Data consistently show alarmingly higher rates of maternal and baby deaths amongst Black and Asian women compared to their White counterparts. In the UK, Black British mothers are up to four times more likely than White mothers to die during pregnancy or within the first six weeks after childbirth. The risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes is three times higher for mothers of mixed ethnicity than for White mothers and twice as high for women of Asian ethnicity.

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Participating sites include:

  1. Birmingham and Solihull Local Maternity and Neonatal System / Birmingham and Solihull ICS
  2. Bristol, North Somerset & South Gloucestershire ICS
  3. Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and King’s Health Partners/ North-West London ICS
  4. Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust / Lancashire and South Cumbria ICS
  5. St Mary’s Hospital (Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust) / Greater Manchester ICS
  6. North Central London ICS
  7. North-East London ICS
  8. Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust/ Greater Manchester ICS
  9. University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust / Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland ICS

This new network will help to accelerate local improvements in maternity and neonatal services, helping to ensure safer, more personalised and equitable maternity care for all women, babies and families.”

Kate Brintworth - Chief Midwifery Officer for England