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RCOG proposes restructuring of women’s health services

Posted 14 July 2011, Rhea Johnson

A new report released today by the RCOG suggests that maternity care needs to be reorganised in order to become more client centred.

High quality women’s health care: A proposal for change proposes that the number of hospital units be cut to ensure 24-hour access to care from senior doctors. It also suggests that more midwife-led units are needed for women with low-risk pregnancies, to reduce the pressure within busy hospitals.

With the government’s proposed changes to the health system, the RCOG have taken this opportunity to appoint an expert review panel to evaluate women’s health services, and has concluded that the current system is neither acceptable nor sustainable.
The RCOG estimates that 1000 more consultants are needed to provide adequate cover for hospital units.

RCM general secretary Cathy Warwick welcomed the report, but said that ‘overall the report has a broader focus than maternity services and is limited in what it says about maternity services.’

She added: ‘However, it clearly supports local care for women who do not need specialist support and supports midwife- led maternity units, informed choice for women about options for childbirth, and women-centred care models.’

Chief executive of the NCT Belinda Phipps said that although the organisation ‘wholeheartedly supports’ the RCOG’s proposal that services should be provided in managed clinical networks, she said ‘we do not believe it goes far enough’.