Maternity review calls for safer, more personalised care

National Maternity Review highlights the need for better communication between nurses and other professionals

A review of England’s maternity care has revealed a culture of 'silo working' and 'a lack of respect across disciplines'.

The National Maternity Review, published today (February 23), calls for better working relationships and communication between NHS staff including nurses, midwives and obstetricians.

It also calls for continuity of care for women and babies to ensure safer births, with community hubs of nurses and midwives offering personalised antenatal and postnatal care.

Around 700,000 babies are born in the UK each year and birth rates are increasing, with more older women giving birth and growing numbers requiring more complex care.

The review, commissioned by NHS England and led by independent experts, found a system under increasing pressure with regional variations in the quality of care.

It also stresses that specialist professional nursing care should be offered to women when complications arise or if they are diabetic, obese or a smoker, which can make pregnancy more complicated.

The review follows last year’s inquiry into the deaths of babies in University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

The report found that England’s stillbirth and neonatal mortality rate fell by more than 20% from 2003 to 2013, and that UK maternal mortality per 100,000 maternities has reduced from 14 deaths in 2003-05 to nine deaths in 2011-13.

The National Maternity Review calls for a dedicated review of issues in neonatal services including nurse staffing numbers and nurse training.

It also advocates giving mothers-to-be a personal budget of more than £3,000 to use towards their maternity care allowing them more choice, including giving birth at home or in birthing centres.

Review chair Baroness Julia Cumberlege said: 'To be among the best in the world, we need to put women, babies and their families at the centre of their care.

'Women have told us they want to be given genuine choices and have the same person looking after them throughout their care. We must ensure that all care is as safe as the best and we need to break down boundaries and work together.'

RCN director of nursing, policy and practice Professor Dame Donna Kinnair, a member of the review team, said: 'To provide the best possible care for women and their babies, professionals need to work together collaboratively. The professionals who work together should train together, that includes nurses and emergency services as well as midwives, obstetricians and others involved in the care of women and their babies.'

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said the review 'rightly argues that the NHS could and should raise its game on personalised support for parents and their babies, better team working, better use of technology, and more joined up maternity and mental health services'.

To read the National Maternity Review's Better Births click here 

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