Safe maternal and newborn care: World Patient Safety Day 2021

  • 30th August 2021

We are now just under three weeks away from the third annual World Patient Safety Day, organised by the World Health Organization (WHO), set to take place on Friday 17 September 2021.

The theme of this year’s World Patient Safety Day is ‘Safe maternal and newborn care’. Patient safety concerns relating to maternity services have been particularly prominent in the UK in recent years, with serious failings highlighted by the Cumberlege Review, Dixon Inquiry and the ongoing Ockenden Maternity Safety Review. In the run up to the 17 September, WHO has been highlighting some key global statistics around this:[1]

  • 810 women every day die because of preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Around 6,700 newborns die each day, amounting to 47% of all under-5 deaths.
  • About 2 million babies are stillborn every year, with 40% occurring during labour.

WHO’s objectives are to raise awareness of these safety issues, engaging stakeholders to take action to improve maternal and newborn safety and advocate for the adoption of good practice at the point of care to prevent avoidable risks and harm.

Highlighting safety issues and sharing good practice

As World Patient Safety Day approaches, we will be highlighting some key areas of concern in relation to maternal and newborn safety, sharing insights, resources, and experiences on our award-winning patient safety platform, the hub. We will also be seeking to highlight examples of good patient safety practice.

Below are two specific areas where we have a number of maternity safety resources already available on the hub:

Neonatal herpes – we have shared a series of blogs by Sarah de Malpaquet, Chief Executive and Founder of the Kit Tarka Foundation, which raises awareness of neonatal herpes, funding research and providing advice to healthcare professionals and the public.

Midwifery Continuity of Carer – we have a growing set of resources about this model of care, focused on the idea that women and birthing people should have continuity of the person looking after them during their maternity journey, before, during and after birth.

Ahead of World Patient Safety Day we will seek to highlight more resources in this area in addition to other key patient safety issues.

Share your experience on the hub

Do you have an experience to share around maternity safety, as a pregnant woman or birthing person? Or perhaps you are a healthcare professional looking to share your frontline insights to help improve patient safety?

Join the conversation in our community forum on the hub, or get in touch with us by emailing [email protected].


[1] Each of these statistics has been shared by the WHO here: WHO, World Patient Safety Day 2021, Last Accessed 26 August 2021.

Maternity Blog


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