Maternity triage system goes digital for nationwide use in the UK

on 05 March 2021

A maternity triage system has been launched digitally and can now be used across all maternity services in the UK.

Midwives, obstetricians and doctors across the NHS can now access the Birmingham Symptom-specific Obstetric Triage System (BSOTS) programme and training materials for free via the Meridian Health Innovation Exchange here.

BSOTS assesses women presenting themselves with unexpected pregnancy related problems or concerns. The women are then allocated a colour code, so midwives and other maternity staff can see quickly who needs to be prioritised.

The triage system was developed collaboratively with the University of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Birmingham.

It has been supported by the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) and MidTech Innovation.

BSOTS aims to provide a more standardised assessment presenting pregnancy problems across the UK where no consistent process has been available.

During the trials of BSOTS at Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust it was found that more women were seeing within 15 minutes of attendance to maternity triage from 38% to 53%.

It also reduced the time between attendance to medical review for those women who required it.

So far, BSOTS has been adopted by 34 UK maternity units, with 20 in the process of implementation, and 17 awaiting training. Sunshine Hospital in Victoria, Australia, is the first international maternity unit to implement the triage system.

Consultant Obstetrician at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust and co-creator of BSOTS, Dr Nina Johns, said: “The BSOTS programme has proved to be invaluable to midwives, obstetricians, and doctors across the UK; not only does it improve quality of care and the safety of pregnant women and staff, it also allows for better communication and creates a less stressful triage environment for staff.

“We hope that by digitising the sign-up process, many more teams will be able to access and implement the service to improve safety & [sic] clinical safety in maternity triage.”