As set out in Implementing Better Births: Continuity of Carer, continuity of carer means each woman:
• Has consistency in the midwife or clinical team that provides hands on care for a woman and her baby throughout the three phases of her maternity journey: pregnancy, labour, and the postnatal period.
• Has a named midwife who takes on responsibility for coordinating her care, and for ensuring all her needs and those of her baby are met, at the right time and in the right place, throughout the antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal periods.
• Has “a midwife she knows at the birth”.
• Is enabled to develop an ongoing relationship of trust with her midwife who cares for her over time.
The aim of this framework, produced by the Royal College of Midwives, is to help Local Maternity Systems and the Maternity Transformation Programme to measure, consistently, the level of continuity of carer being provided over time, not only to monitor delivery, but also to help evaluate the extent to which particular models realise the benefits set out in evidence.
This document summarises the policy expectations and then suggests a measurement framework that draws on existing data, or that can be incorporated into other existing data collection thus imposing minimal burden on health care organisations and staff. It provides clarity in terms of how continuity of carer is to be defined and measured, and benchmark data upon which improvement can be measured.