Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Building leadership capabilities in maternity
  1. Ayisha Adeeba Ashmore1,
  2. Kate Kanga2,
  3. Tejinder Kaur-Desai3,
  4. Kate Thorman4,
  5. Natasha Archer1
  1. 1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester, UK
  2. 2 Department of Anaesthesia, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Brighton, UK
  3. 3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Leeds, UK
  4. 4 Maternity Assessment Unit, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ayisha Adeeba Ashmore, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester LE1 5WW, UK; a.kibria{at}


Background Over recent years, there has been increasing recognition that effective leadership is critical to establishing positive organisational culture and improving patient outcomes. In maternity, there is a unique interplay between different specialties and disciplines in providing high-quality services.

Methods Review of literature pertaining to leadership and maternity.

Results Good leadership is the key determinant in ensuring that our multi-professional teams function effectively. The relational aspects of teamworking, linked to safer delivery of services, have been explored in great detail in maternity services. However, there has been less focus on the application of leadership theory in this environment and the impact of interventions used in developing leadership skills within maternity teams.

Conclusions In this paper, we discuss how leadership theory can be used to understand high profile maternity service failures and how effective team culture, clinical team building and individual leadership skill-development are strong contributors to this thinking. Specific examples are used to describe ongoing work in our drive for improvement and to highlight the current lack of evidence in this area.

  • medical leadership
  • learning
  • multi-disciplinary

Statistics from


  • Contributors AAA and KK developed the idea, researched the content and wrote the article. TK-D, KT and NA supported the revision of the work critically for important intellectual content.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests AAA and KK are current National Medical Director’s Clinical Fellows who are working at the Care Quality Commission and NHS England. TK-D is a previous Health Education England fellow and currently holds a role in the Care Quality Commission. KT is a band 7 midwife at King’s College, London. NA is a consultant obstetrician and head of service at University Hospitals Leicester.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.