• Call us now: 0300 303 0444
  • Call us now: 0300 303 0444

You are here

Women must be at heart of care says RCM on new continuity of carer in maternity services guidance

21 December, 2017

Women must be at heart of care says RCM on new continuity of carer in maternity services guidance

Today NHS England has published guidance on continuity of carer in maternity services. This is the woman seeing the same midwife, or small group midwives throughout pregnancy, during the labour and birth and after the baby is born.  The document aims to support local maternity systems implement continuity of carer.

Commenting on the guidance, Gill Walton, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “This is a very positive step for women and for our maternity services. We know that continuity of carer delivers safer care and a better experience for women.

“At the moment we also know that many women are not getting continuity*.  This is why this document is so important as it sets out ways in which this can be achieved.

“Maternity services are, however, currently  hard pressed and working hard to deliver the best possible service with often limited staffing and resources. Any change to the way that services are provided has to be realistic, stepwise and adequately resourced with the right number of midwives.

“Implementing continuity of carer across the maternity journey is a significant change in the ways of working for many midwives. Midwives are central to providing this service and they must be supported and engaged in any process of change, with appropriate education and preparation for changes in their roles.

“Implementing continuity of carer across the maternity journey for women will need adequate funding and resourcing. The Government must factor in additional money for maternity services as this moves forward.

“We will be working hard with the Government, maternity services and with our midwife and maternity support worker members to support this process. There is a lot of work to be done but ultimately these will be positive changes that will benefit women, who must always be at the heart of the care we deliver.”

Note to editors

*In November this year the RCM released an updated publication on continuity of midwifery care. In the publication research on continuity showed that 36% of women did not see the same midwife every time or almost every time during pregnancy, and 25% of women reported being left alone in labour and shortly after the birth. The publication can be read at https://www.rcm.org.uk/sites/default/files/Continuity%20of%20Care%20A5%2012pp%202107_6.pdf.

The Royal College of Midwives has been commissioned by NHS England to develop a Continuity of Carer Learning Module for midwives as part of the RCM’s  i-learn programme. This will be will be completed by March 2018.

The RCM has also on behalf of NHS England commissioned Birth Rate Plus to model Continuity of Carer with Early Adopters of continuity of carer.  Also again on behalf of NHS England the RCM has commissioned Professor Jane Sandall to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework for continuity of carer due at the end of the 2018.

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.




Printer-friendly version