Starting Well

The aim of the Starting Well programme is to improve the health outcomes in pregnancy and for babies, children and young people.

This will be achieved through the specific objectives, outlined below:

The Main Aim

Our primary objective for this programme is to understand the health priorities for clinicians, academics and other stakeholders across the Liverpool City Region (LCR) which is defined as the six boroughs in the region, Liverpool, Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. To assist us in this consultation process, we are using an adapted Delphi-Method.

DISCOVER partners’ priorities:

From this consultation process, we will develop an agreed evidence-informed roadmap for tackling the health needs and improving the health outcomes in pregnancy and for babies, children and young people, endorsed by each of Liverpool’s health partners, and co-created with parents, children and young people.

Taking part in this consultation process will allow you to shape the LHP strategy, defining, as you see it, the priorities for our focus, this contribution will be valuable for informing the Starting Well programme.

EDUCATE partners in clearly defined areas:

Educating the workforce to deliver high quality maternal and child health research, developing new insights and ideas, for example, looking at how different disciplines can inform the Starting Well programme, for example, behaviour science. Showcase existing research to engage the next generation of early stage researchers across all health care professional groups.

IMPROVE partners’ collaborations in defined areas:

Within the areas defined through our consultation process we will develop collaborative partnerships which address these areas.

In the interim period, prior to the completion of the consultation process, we will conduct collaborative workshops with cross cutting LHP themes. Exploring where there is already potential synergy across themes – ACHD, neurosciences, oncology, addiction.

A current example of this is the Hugh Greenwood Legacy Fund which is in its second year and is based on funding for programmes and fellowships for partnership work between Alder Hey NHS Children’s Hospital, Liverpool Women’s Hospital and the University of Liverpool.


Problems facing our community

  • The Liverpool rate of 2 per 1,000 is significantly higher than England (3.9 per 1,000) and the underlying trend is up.
  • Children and young people across Liverpool experience higher levels of poor health and inequalities compared to the rest of the country.
  • Poor health outcomes and life chances result from poverty and reduced quality of life including living conditions.
  • These risk factors impact on health outcomes and life chances from birth and accumulate throughout childhood, generating poorer health and life outcomes in adulthood.
  • Evidence suggests that disadvantage tracks forward to generate excess morbidity in adult life, reinforcing the need for a focus on the Starting Well programme.

The way forward

  • What happens in pregnancy and early childhood impacts on physical and emotional health all the way through to adulthood.
  • Supporting good maternal health is important for safe delivery and good birth weight to give babies the best start
  • The prevention of adverse health factors in pregnancy is vital. Premature and small babies are more likely to have poorer outcomes.
  • The earliest experiences, starting in the womb, shape a baby’s brain development. During the first 2 years of life the brain displays a remarkable capacity to absorb information and adapt to its surroundings.
  • Investing in early years services can improve babies’ and children’s health outcomes including: early cognitive and non-cognitive development, social development, children’s readiness for school, later educational outcomes.
  • This is a crucial time when parents have contact with health and early years services before, and after, the birth of their child and are especially receptive to offers of advice.

For more information about this research programme, please contact Dr Carrie Hunt by email at or by telephone on 07500 835435

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