In 2009, the Government agreed to the development of the Maternity Quality Initiative, which included the establishment of a Maternity Quality and Safety Programme. Local maternity quality and safety programmes (MQSPs) were trialled in four DHB demonstration sites during 2011 and were rolled out to all DHBs in 2012.
MQSPs involve ongoing, systematic review by local multidisciplinary teams that work together to identify potential improvements to maternity services and work to implement those improvements. MQSPs are driven by local midwifery and medical leaders working together, and bring together consumers and practitioners working across community and hospital-based maternity services to form local maternity networks.
MQSPs are currently playing an important role in raising the profile of maternity quality and safety. Overall, maternity quality and safety is, as a result of MQSPs, more accepted and embedded at a system level.
The Ministry of Health funded the MQSP for four years to June 2015 on the expectation that the MQSP would operate as business as usual after this time. Overall, progress in implementing the MQSP has been slower than expected and there has been differential progress across DHBs to date due to the scale and complexity of the programme and the sector.
A mixed method evaluation undertaken in 2014/15 recommended continuation of national funding and support for local MQSPs, with contract terms and conditions appropriate for the stage of development of the DHB’s programme.