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Staff shortages force most trusts to suspend NHSE maternity care model

More than two-thirds of trusts have been forced to suspend or pause a high-profile service improvement aimed at reducing neonatal and maternal deaths, because of widespread staffing shortages.

HSJ research revealed a majority of trusts have been unable to implement the continuity of carer maternity model, after they were told to look again at whether it could be safely implemented.

The model intends to give women “dedicated support” from the same midwifery team throughout their pregnancy, with a 2016 review saying it would reduce infant and maternal mortality rates and improve care more generally.

It is particularly aimed at improving care for patients from minority ethnic groups and those with other risk factors, and has been championed by Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, NHS England’s chief midwifery officer. Key targets around the model were included in the 2019 NHS long-term plan.

However, there is consensus nationally that it can only be rolled out safely where there are adequate numbers of staff to do so – otherwise the risks outweigh the benefits.

Earlier this year, the final Ockenden report into maternity care failings at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust was critical of the model, and said it should be suspended until trusts have enough staff to meet “safe minimum requirements on all shifts”.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 30 August 2022

Read more about the continuity of care maternity model on the hub


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