In the review, key priorities have been published which aim to provide change and improve maternity care for women and babies.
Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, Cathy Warwick, was a member of the review and says that midwives will be “pleased” to the read the report.
“I hope women and everyone working in maternity services will be pleased to read this report. The RCM is most pleased that the review’s key priorities include putting women at the centre of care and believes that personalising maternity services will help to achieve this,” she said.
Safer and personalised maternity service
The review highlights recommendations to provide a safer and more personalised service, as well as become more family friendly.
Last year, the National Maternity Review, commissioned by NHS England, encouraged midwives and the general public to share their opinions on current maternity services in the country.
“From the midwifery point of view, I believe that the vision expressed in the review will be one to which every midwife can sign up. The report gives us a real opportunity to ensure that every maternity service achieves the standard of the very best. However, the climate in which midwives work today is often a difficult one and there will be challenges for midwives as the recommendations are implemented.”
The National Maternity Review also highlighted differences in maternity care across England, with further opportunities to reduce still births.
According to the review, smoking is still a risk factor for poor birth outcomes, with obesity and an increase in reproductive age also linked to complications during pregnancy and childbirth.
Continuity of care
The recommendations say every woman should have a midwife, who is part of a small team of 4 to 6 midwives, and can provide continuity of care throughout the antenatal and postnatal periods.
It also says community hubs could enable women and families to get access to care within their community from their midwife and other maternity services.
£3,000 budget for pregnant women
The maternity review recommends that pregnant women should be given a £3,000 budget that can be spent on NHS services to ensure they get the care they wish to receive.
The proposed scheme would see pregnant women being informed about local NHS maternity service providers to help them make a decision on how and where they receive their care.
Authors of the review drew similarities to the scheme to personal health budgets which is given to people with long-term conditions and disabilities, who also have a say on how NHS money should be spent on them.
Overall, families who responded to the review said they received a good experience from maternity services in England.
The review was conducted by an independent panel consisting of NHS staff, professional bodies and user groups.
To see the full review, please visit the NHS England website.
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