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Going forward from the maternity review

17 November, 2016

Going forward from the maternity review

While Better Births sets out a clear destination for the future of the maternity service in England, just how the multitude of units and teams around the country are going to get to there is less obvious.

However, the RCM has a key role in directing the implementation of the plan and discussed its latest thinking with midwives at a policy seminar, Going Forward from the Maternity Review, in the conference room at Lord’s cricket ground in London.

RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick began with an overview of the recommendations in Better Births. For her, three key points stand out. The first is the idea of personalised care. 

‘We have to accept that in the past few years care has become more institution-centred,’ said Cathy, ‘and we need to get back to a service that is firmly women-centred.’ 

The second is the notion of continuity of carer, which, she felt, has caused some confusion, though she is clear it focuses on strengthening the relationships between midwives and women. 

The final point is multi-professional working. 'We mustn’t imagine that working with others reduces our autonomy. But we must work with others, and we must remain professionals in our own right’.

She also pleaded with midwives not to be cynical about the Better Births vision statement. 

‘I’m pleased we are still talking about a professional and caring service, but I am also pleased that for the first time this vision acknowledges we need to look after staff.’ 

This raises one of the big questions surrounding Better Births: how does the profession implement all this without putting excess demand on midwives? 

The RCM is working hard to find an answer. What is certain, though, is that significant change is on the horizon. ‘For some this will involve big steps, for others small steps,’ said Cathy. ‘But even if you can do only small things, do them.’ 

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