Pregnant women and new mums are to have one named midwife overseeing their care and more support after birth from the NHS, the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley pledged today.
Andrew said that plans to invest in 5,000 midwives in training mean that women would have the opportunity to have one named midwife during their pregnancy and after they have given birth, reports The Daily Mail.
Under the pledged changes parents-to-be would also have more choice over where and how they give birth. In addition, an extra 4,200 health visitors being recruited by the Government will receive extra training so they can detect early signs of postnatal depression (PND).
“No woman should have to cope with postnatal depression without help and support,” Andrew said. “The changes we are putting in place today will mean that the NHS is providing even more support to women who have this serious condition.”
The NHS will also be assessed for the first time on how well it supports parents who have experienced miscarriage, still birth or cot death.
“We have listened to the concerns of women about their experiences of maternity care, which is why we are putting in place a ‘named midwife’ policy to ensure consistency of care,” Andrew explained. “Not least, we will focus on the quality of care given to mothers-to-be and measure women’s experience of their maternity care for the first time.”
Cathy Warwick, the chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), commented on the planned changes and said, “These are positive plans from the government targeting areas of maternity care that are under-prioritised and under-resourced,” reported the Guardian.
“The impact of a miscarriage or a stillbirth can be devastating for the woman and her family and postnatal depression can be a crippling and sometimes fatal illness. Early detection and treatment is crucial,” Cathy explained. “It is also excellent to see an intention to ensure that long-standing NHS commitments, such as one-to-one care in labour and choice about where and how women give birth, become a reality for all women.”