In 2016 the National Maternity Review, ‘Better Births’, recommended that women have a named midwife, based in the community, who can provide continuity of care throughout pregnancy, birth and postnatal periods. To explore midwives’ perspectives of different ways of working, and to inform implementation, the CLAHRC West Midlands research team conducted an online survey of midwives across 27 providers in October 2017. 798 midwives took part.
The research identified that only a third of midwives were currently willing and able to work in ‘continuity-based models of care’, and therefore recommended that implementation of continuity is targeted at women most able to benefit, including disadvantaged populations. The team have actively engaged with NHS trusts, senior midwives, the NHS England policy team and Royal College of Midwives to disseminate our findings, including presenting at national, local and regional events and in the professional press.
Trusts around the country are using the survey tool to support their own plans for implementing continuity. The NHS Long Term Plan, published this month, has reiterated the commitment to providing greater continuity of care, but has added a commitment to targeting continuity implementation for women in BAME and disadvantaged communities, so that 75% of women in these groups are provided with continuity of midwife by 2024. The team welcomes this focus which recognises and aims to address inequalities in outcomes and experience in maternity care.
For further information please contact Beck Taylor firstname.lastname@example.org @BeckTaylorBham.
A summary of the survey findings can be found here https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/midwife-continuity-survey.
NHS Long Term Plan: https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/