Midlands maternity programme awarded ‘Service Initiative of the Year’ at prestigious healthcare awards

13 November 2020

Birmingham Symptom specific Obstetric Triage System (BSOTS) has been titled the Maternity and Midwifery Services Initiative of the Year at the HSJ Patient Safety Awards, recognising their outstanding contribution to healthcare.

BSOTS has been developed by the NIHR Applied Research Collaboration West Midlands (ARC WM), which is hosted by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) with academic leadership from the University of Warwick.

Despite tough competition from hundreds of applicants, the BSOTS programme was selected for this award based on its ambition, visionary spirit and the demonstrable positive impact and staff experience within the maternity care sector.

Thanks to the collaborative efforts between the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) the NIHR ARC WM and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, BSOTS was established to provide a standardised method of safely and efficiently assessing women with unexpected clinical concerns in pregnancy.

The Birmingham Symptom specific Obstetric Triage System is a maternity triage system developed by clinicians and researchers from Birmingham Women’s Hospital (Dr Nina Johns) and the University of Birmingham (Professor Sara Kenyon).

The process consists of a prompt and brief assessment (triage) of the women on presentation, followed by a standardised set of guidance developed to help midwives and clinicians determine the clinical urgency in which women need to be seen. The guidance appears to have improved the safety of mothers and babies, as well as the management of the maternity departments providing the care. The standardised assessment and excellent staff understanding, and interpretation means that variation in the clinical urgency of women between midwives is minimal. The shared language between health care professionals supports clear communication. It has been adopted by 29 UK NHS Trusts so far, with another 30 trained and in the process of implementation.

Sara Kenyon, Professor of Evidence-Based Maternity Care and leading the current ARC Maternity Theme comments, “We are delighted to have been chosen as the Maternity and Midwifery Services Initiative of the Year, recognising the collaborative efforts and dedication of the BSOTS team and the staff members in the sites who have successfully implement this maternity triage system. We are committed to improving safety for women and their families, and to be chosen among the other incredible nominees is a wonderful achievement.”