Women and children's services

Our aim is to achieve sustainable, high quality physical and mental health care for women and children across Surrey Heartlands. It needs to be responsive to diverse local need and affordable to the system.

Our ambitions for women and children in Surrey Heartlands

We believe we can achieve this through working better together – both the organisations who buy (commission) the services and the organisations which provide the services – building on good local practice. We want to provide a good service for all, as well as targeting care and support for the women and children who need it most.

We will only be able to do this if we can retain and further develop our skilled and enthusiastic workforce.

As well as providing care, we want to help people to avoid preventable ill-health. We’ll do this by enabling and empowering local people to make the right choices for them and their families through support, information and access to early intervention to stop physical and mental ill health at an early stage.

Find out how we intend to do this by reading more about our vision for commissioning in Surrey and downloading our Joint Commissioning Strategy for Children, Young People and their Families.

Joined up maternity services

Surrey Heartlands continues to transform maternity services following the completion NHS England Better Births early adopter programme in early 2019. The next stage is to create local hubs where maternity care can be brought together and to embed continuity of carer, where pregnant women are supported by a dedicated midwife, or team of midwives, throughout her pregnancy, during birth and once the baby is born.

NHS England chose Surrey Heartlands was one of seven early adopters of the Better Births initiative. Under this programme, Surrey Heartlands introduced the award-winning Maternity Advice Line. Through the Maternity Advice Line, pregnant women can phone a midwife at any time to get immediate personal advice and support.

In addition, an electronic maternity system, delivered via BadgerNet, enables all the people caring for a woman through pregnancy and birth, as well as the woman herself, to see and add to her pregnancy health record. Together, the Adviceline and BadgerNet provider better joined up care for women throughout their care. A shared home birthing team allows women who choose to give birth at home, easier access to a dedicated team of specialist homebirth midwives.

Watch the Channel 5 news report about the impact of the changes on women and their families.

Perinatal Equity Plan

The ambition of Surrey Heartlands Local Maternity Neonatal System is to provide equitable maternity and neonatal services to all families in Surrey.

We believe that the outcomes, access, and experience should be the same for all families across the county. The valued staff serving families should also experience equity of opportunity, fairness, and role satisfaction.

Our Perinatal Equity Plan 2022-2027 [pdf] 1MB sets out specific objectives to help us meet our ambitions over the next five years alongside plans for addressing each of these so we can improve care for everyone.

Download our Perinatal Equity Plan 2022-2027 summary version [pdf] 306KB to understand more about the five priorities set by NHS England and our full Perinatal Equity Plan to read about the current situation and our plans in detail.

Programmes of work in Surrey Heartlands

Programmes of work in Surrey Heartlands

First 1000 Days programme

The First 1000 Days programme aims to update and refocus a range of services to make life-long improvements for children as they grow into adulthood.

According to research across the world, the first 1,000 days – from conception until two years – has a life-long impact. For a whole range of reasons, some people have different life experiences. A child’s development is influenced by a wide range of factors, including such things as the mother’s physical health and mental wellbeing, what the baby eats and drinks, to the child’s physical surrounding and stimulation.

This programme focuses on the areas where we can have the greatest effect to improve every Surrey child’s first 1,000 days of life.

Initial areas of focus include:

  • Parental attachment
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Safe and secure home environment
  • Personalised support for families with specific needs

The partnership is taking a system-wide approach to reducing health inequalities. Senior leaders from every organisation in the partnership, including chief executives, clinical chairs and medical directors, have pledged to raise the profile of this stage of life and maintain board-level focus to bring about change.

You can read our First 1000 Days Strategy to find out more. There is also an Easy Read version of the First 1000 Days Strategy.

Co-producing services for local children Birth to Five Partnership (BFP) pilot

Co-producing services for local children Birth to Five Partnership (BFP) pilot

Our Birth to Five Partnership (BFP) pilot project, came to an end on 31 October 2023. This time limited project, funded through national investment, looked at how we can work together with families to review and coproduce local children’s services.

Now the pilot has come to an end, we are focussing on our next steps and busy collating feedback from the BFP lay chairs as well as families and carers who took time to give us their views.

The pilot used the Maternity Voices Partnership model for service user engagement. This has already given us some valuable insights and learning, for example:

  • Understanding how cultural awareness can impact levels of engagement.
  • The importance of shared goals to help deliver clear outcomes (including value for money).
  • Identifying engagement models that can reach more diverse communities.

A summary report of the pilot’s highlights, challenges, and key learning points will be produced in November 2023. We hope that insights gained from this can be used to inform and improve future engagement around service developments.

Surrey Heartlands will use learning from the pilot to help develop future community services engagement. Work has already started on embedding some of the valuable learning and good practice the pilot produced. This includes:

  • Coproducing educational resources – digital and face to face perinatal information.
  • Embedding cultural awareness – events to inform how we can respect, listen, hear and support.
  • System wide discussions – around improving service user health literacy through improved information and easier navigation.

Surrey Heartlands is committed to the principle of co-design and co-production leading to meaningful service user engagement.

We would like to thank everyone who took part in the pilot for their time, expertise, lived experience and enthusiasm over the past two years. We know this was a massive undertaking, on top of already busy lives and workloads.

Gypsy Roma Traveller (GRT) project

Surrey Heartlands has funded a two year assertive outreach project to improve the health outcomes for GRT communities (both settled and travelling). People from GRT communities often have less access to NHS services than other people and life expectancy is often worse.

A small team of health professionals work with a range of partners to deliverer health promotion and interventions on unauthorised (roadside), council and private sites, as well as housed GRT communities, across Surrey. As part of the project, health professionals – including health visitors, GP staff and maternity teams – will receive cultural awareness training so they are better able to meet the needs of GRT people who they treat and support.

Connecting Care for Children programme

Connecting Care for Children programme

Surrey Heartlands began three pilot projects in 2019-20 to provide specialist paediatric services to children and their families at GP bases closer to home.

As well as paediatricians holding consultations with children and their families at GP bases alongside GPs, the programme also aims to widen the skills for GPs in treating/referring children. This will help ensure children are treated in the best location by the most appropriate clinician.

We are working with Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, which has run the highly successful Connecting Care for Children programme in west London.

Mental health and wellbeing

Surrey County Council, NHS organisations in Surrey as well as the voluntary sector are working together on a major transformation programme across Surrey Heartlands to improve emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people (CYP).

The transformation will see a change in services themselves, the way services are accessed, referral processes, as well as a greater use of community assets, such as peer support.

This major programme, which has been developed with support from CYP, including those who have used existing services, will see a sea-change in the way services and support are provided to CYP and their families in Surrey.

The transformation programme has five areas of focus:

  1. Access – the right support, in the right way, at the right time for access and referrals.
  2. Early intervention – working in and with schools, community health providers and voluntary organisations to provide timely support and services to build resilience and prevent escalation of emotional wellbeing where possible as well as effective digital services.
  3. Social, emotional and mental health – provide early intervention at school for children and young people with behaviour, emotional and neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD and ASD.
  4. Vulnerable groups – extend current services for children and young people who are most likely to need additional support, such as those in care, care leavers, post adoption, those who have experienced domestic abuse and excluded from school.
  5. Crisis – a review of commissioned services to treat and support CYP in crisis through Surrey Heartlands rather than NHS England, which are accessible and effective, and build on the experience of other successful projects elsewhere. This will include a review of crisis referrals.

Bringing GPs, hospitals and children together

The 'Children Together' project in four Woking practices sees hospital consultants hold joint consultations with their GP colleagues, meaning more convenience for patients and the chance for staff to share knowledge and advice.