Lancashire and South Cumbria women and families will now receive an advocate's support if something has gone wrong with their maternity or neonatal care.

The maternity and neonatal independent senior advocate will ensure women and families are acted upon by their maternity and neonatal care providers when they experience an adverse outcome during their maternity and neonatal care.

This could be whether it happened recently or some time ago.

Louise Peacock, new maternity and neonatal independent senior advocate for Lancashire and South Cumbria, said: "I am here to help you and your family to be listened to by your maternity and neonatal care teams.

The Mail: Louise Peacock will attend meeting with and support families through investigation and complaints

"You do not need to be sure if there were mistakes or negligence in your or your baby’s care to ask for my support.

"I can attend meetings with you, as well as supporting you through investigation and complaints processes."

Adverse outcomes, such as a baby dying before or after birth, a mother's death, a mother having an unplanned removal of her uterus within six weeks of giving birth, unplanned care in a critical care unit, or a baby being diagnosed with a suspected brain injury, will be areas of support the advocate will assist with.

The advocate will help women and families understand the maternity and neonatal healthcare system, attend follow up meetings where concerns about care are being discussed, and support them through investigation and complaints processes.

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The advocate will first serve those who have received care at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

Vanessa Wilson, programme director for women and children's services in NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: "Adverse outcomes in maternity care are very rare, but it is vital that families are supported through these difficult times, and that they are listened to by care providers.

"We are pleased to be one of the first areas in the country to have this important bespoke role in our community."

The role was co-developed by NHS England who worked with maternity and neonatal service users and staff, after the Ockenden review into maternity care at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust.

The advocate is independent from NHS Trusts and reports to the Integrated Care Board.

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