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    The Maternity and Newborn Learning Health Network (MNLHN) brings together consumers, clinicians and researchers to improve safety and quality of healthcare, experiences and outcomes for women receiving maternity care in Victoria. The MNLHN’s goal is to drive safety and quality to improve the maternity care for women, babies, and families. By partnering with consumers, clinicians, and researchers, the MNLHN cultivates a cooperative and comprehensive approach to improving maternity outcomes.

    Consumer lead: Bronwyn Hogan 

    Bronwyn Hogan

    Bronwyn Hogan, our MNLHN Consumer Lead, is dedicated to creating positive change in Victoria's healthcare system. Bronwyn has a powerful personal story, having experienced loss and other pregnancy complications. She is committed to amplifying patients' and family/carers' voices and encouraging collaboration between patients and health service staff to improve care for all. Bronwyn brings a combination of professional expertise and personal experience to her role, is passionate about rural perspectives, continuous improvement, and empowering others to share their stories.

    Clinical lead: Dr Penny Sheehan 

    Dr Penny Sheehan

    Dr. Penny Sheehan, the Clinical Lead of the MNLHN has a keen interest in studying the complexities of labour and working with women at high risk of preterm birth as well as over 20 years of experience in safety and quality in public maternity services, Dr. Sheehan is well placed to enhance care for mothers and newborns. In her role, Dr. Sheehan values consumer involvement and is leading work to ensure a patient-centred approach and safer, more compassionate Victorian maternity care.

    Advisory group: The MNLHN Advisory Group is co-chaired by our Consumer Lead, Bronwyn Hogan and our Clinical Lead, Dr Penny Sheehan. Membership consists of clinicians (obstetricians, midwives, paediatricians, neonatologists, neonatal nurses consumers, health system leaders and improvement specialists). The MNLHN Advisory Group drives and facilitates purposeful consumer and sector engagement, provides advice on work of the LHN with a focus on system level issues, and provides advice and direction to support SCV and the Department of Health (DH), as required.

    Data group: The MNLHN Data Group is chaired by A/Prof Alexis Shub. Membership consists of clinicians, consumers, data experts, researchers, and academics. The MNLHN Data Group provides expertise on data analytics including identification, interpretation, and use of data to support the work of the LHN.

    For more information, contact  

    Latest news

    MNLHN Improvement Program

    We are inviting Victorian maternity services to partner with us in the MNLHN Improvement Program to build improvement capability and drive improved outcomes for women, babies and families. Maternity services who are interested in participating in the MNLHN Improvement Program are encouraged to watch the webinar, read the Information Pack and submit an Expression of Interest.

    Priority areas

    The MNLHN is committed to partnering and engaging with consumers, clinicians, and researchers to:

    • drive sustained improvements from previous SCV led large-scale maternity projects
    • develop a live maternity dashboard that facilitates health service reporting and sharing of benchmarking data

    Reducing severe perineal tears

    Women having their first birth vaginally in Victoria are four times more likely to experience a severe perineal laceration (third- or fourth-degree tear) compared to those having a subsequent birth vaginally (Victorian perinatal services performance indicators 2018–19 report). This can have devastating long-term or lifelong impacts on physical and psychological wellbeing. Many of these tears are avoidable.

    During 2019 to 2021, SCV teamed up with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) and 14 health services to improve outcomes for mothers and their babies, using the IHI’s proven Model for improvement. Drawing on the Women’s Healthcare Australasia Perineal Protection Bundle, SCV working in partnership with maternity services and tested and spread evidence-based care bundles to reduce third- and fourth-degree perineal tear rates.

    Work focused on five clinically endorsed interventions:

    • Warm compresses
    • Encourage a slow controlled birth: using hands on technique
    • Correct episiotomy technique used when indicated 
    • Comprehensive assessment for perineal tears
    • Accurate severity grading of perineal tears 

    Download the Better Births Toolkit 

    Reducing stillbirths

    Research suggests that many stillbirths may be avoidable and there is low awareness of the risk factors for stillbirth. During 2019 to 2021, SCV teamed up with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the Stillbirth Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) and 15 health services to improve outcomes for mothers and their babies, using the IHI’s proven Model for Improvement.

    SCV working in partnership with maternity services, tested and spread evidence-based clinical care to reduce the rates of stillbirth, focussing on five areas of practice:

    • promoting smoking cessation
    • detection and management of fetal growth restriction (FGR) 
    • management of decreased fetal movements 
    • promoting optimal maternal sleep position 
    • shared decision-making around timing of birth 

    Download the Safer Baby Toolkit 

    Future priorities include:

    • Postpartum haemorrhage collaborative (coming to the MNLHN in 2024)
    • Preterm birth collaborative (coming to the MNLHN in 2024)
    • Reducing maternity readmissions
    • Birth suite safety culture 


    5 September 2023 Decision making around timing of birth
    11 July 2023 Sustaining improvement lessons learned from Health Services
    5 June  2023 Dhelkaya Health (Castlemaine) - learnings from a new maternity model of care
    13 December 2022 Congenital syphilis
    19 October 2022 Caesarean section surgical site infections in Victorian hospitals
    10 August 2022 Interventions for vaccine preventable infections in pregnancy
    13 July 2022 Reducing pain in newborns during painful procedures: Evidence, practices and education
    11 May 2022 Extreme prematurity
    19 April 2022 Perineal protection



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