NHS England has this week told trusts it is abandoning a patient safety target ‘until maternity services in England can demonstrate sufficient staffing levels’ to meet it.
The Midwifery Continuity of Care model was designed to ensure expectant mothers would be cared for by the same small team of midwives throughout their pregnancy, labour and postnatal care. It was a key recommendation of 2016’s Better Births review of English midwifery services.
NHSE’s chief midwifery officer for England Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent championed the policy and guidance on its implementation was issued in October.
However, in her report on the care failures at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust’s maternity department, Donna Ockenden said the Midwifery Continuity of Care model should be suspended until more evidence was gathered about its effectiveness and there were enough midwives to meet minimum staffing requirements.
Ms Ockenden said patient safety had been “compromised by the unprecedented pressures that Continuity of Care models of care place on maternity services already under significant strain”.
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Source: HSJ, 23 September 2022