Maternity services strategy: Key recommendations
Three care pathways – supported care, assisted care and specialised care
Each maternity network should provide low intensity birth centres
Three care pathways – supported care, assisted care and specialised care – should be developed as part of a new model of maternity care.
Women should have a choice in selecting an appropriate pathway of care, based on risk profile and needs.
A lead healthcare professional should be responsible for the co-ordination of a woman’s care.
A hospital outreach, community midwifery service should be developed, provided by midwives, within a broader multidisciplinary team. This would rotate between the community and hospital, offering continuity of care that supports the woman through all stages of pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal care.
Each maternity network should provide low intensity birth centres, alongside and contiguous to, a high intensity birth centre. Where this is not feasible, in the case of some small size/low activity units, designated space should be provided for low intensity birthing within the main birth centre.
All birth centres should have an emergency team available to provide an immediate response to obstetric emergencies.
Home birth services, integrated within the maternity network, should be available in the supported care pathway, with care from the lead healthcare professional and the hospital-based community midwifery team, and in line with national standards.
Any review of the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme should consider the feasibility of extending coverage to include a pre-conception consultation and a three-month postnatal check and/or additional postnatal GP visits where further needs are identified.