At the end of March, NHS England released a three year delivery plan for maternity and neonatal services. It aims to make care safer, more personalised and equitable. Read more.
The plan sets out that it will achieve these aims by listening to women and families, supporting the workforce to develop their skills and capacity, developing and sustaining a culture of safety and meeting and improving standards and structures.
In response to the plan, our chief executive Angela McConville said:
“Maternity services are in crisis and in a year when we have seen one damning maternity services report after another, we’re pleased to see NHS England’s renewed focus on improving outcomes for women and babies.
“We welcome the fact that the Government has recognised that listening to women with compassion is key to providing personalised and safer care. It’s also reassuring to see the focus on equitable care woven through the plan.
“Safety in birth isn’t a ‘nice-to-have’ – it is a fundamental right – and yet we live in a society where women’s safety in pregnancy, birth and postnatally can depend on where they live, their ethnicity and if they experience multiple disadvantages in life. This inequality has to be corrected.
We know that there is a chronic shortage of midwives
“However, the ambition of safer, more equitable and personalised maternity and neonatal services can only be achieved with adequate staffing and a skilled and motivated workforce.
“We know there is a chronic shortage of midwives and many who are still in the profession are under enormous pressure, disillusioned and feeling undervalued. Although retaining, growing and supporting the workforce is one of the key themes in this plan, there needs to be absolute clarity in how this will be delivered for maximum impact.”