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Baroness Julia Cumberlege is to lead a major review of maternity services which is set to modernise care for women and babies across the country, NHS England announced today.
The programme of work will assess current maternity care provision and consider how services should be developed to meet the changing needs of women and babies.
The review was promised in the NHS Five Year Forward View and its terms of reference were published just after the report into maternity care at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust was published earlier this month.
Baroness Cumberlege said: “NHS England recognises just how important the experience of childbirth is to women, their partners and the new born child. Though the majority find the care they receive to be good, this is a chance to raise standards of safety, to innovate and to explore how maternity services can best meet the needs of today.
“I see this review as an opportunity for parents to shape the services they want professionals to deliver. The team will travel widely in England to listen and to seek out and assess innovative models of care here and abroad.
“Shortly we will let you know how you can help. I will welcome the ideas of parents and professionals alike.”
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “Having a baby can be one of the most joyous experiences you can go through and we know that the vast majority of women are happy with the maternity care they receive. But we also know great care isn’t everywhere. The time is right to take stock, and consider how we can best deliver maternity care safely in every part of the country, while better meeting the high expectations women and their families rightly have.
“Under Julia’s leadership, we need this review to independently assess the evidence – from this country and overseas – on how we can improve care for women, babies and their families.”
Baroness Cumberlege brings a wealth of experience in healthcare leadership. She is Honorary Fellow at several Royal Colleges including the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists. She chaired working parties for the Royal College of Physicians – which led to the ‘Doctors in Society’ (2005) and ‘Future Physicians: Changing Doctors in a Changing World’ (2010) reports. She is a patron of the National Childbirth Trust and Vice President of the Royal College of Midwives. In the 1990s she also led a major review on maternity care, producing the ‘Changing Childbirth’ report for the Department of Health.
She will work closely with other members of the review team and provide independent leadership for its overall work, which will include:
- reviewing the UK and international evidence and making recommendations on safe and efficient models of maternity services, including midwife-led units;
- ensuring that the NHS supports and enables women to make safe and appropriate choices of maternity care for them and their babies; and
- supporting NHS staff, including midwives to provide responsive care.
A full list of members will be confirmed soon. They include:
- Sir Cyril Chantler (Vice Chair)
- Professor Cathy Warwick, Royal College of Midwives, Chief Executive
- Dr David Richmond, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, President
- Annie Francis, Neighbourhood Midwives, Chief Executive
- Sarah Noble, Consultant Midwife, Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust
- Elizabeth Duff, NCT, Senior Policy Adviser
- Alison Baum, Best Beginnings, Chief Executive
- Rowan Davies, Mumsnet, Head of Policy and Campaigns
- James Titcombe, Morecambe Bay parent and CQC adviser on safety
- Dr Alan Fenton, Consultant Neonatal Paediatrician, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Hospitals NHS FT
- Professor James Walker, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Leeds
- Dr Catherine Calderwood, National Clinical Director for Maternity and Women’s Health
- Dr Jocelyn Cornwell, Point of Care Foundation, Chief Executive
The review team will establish a number of advisory groups covering the healthcare system, the voluntary sector and international models of care. They will also engage with NHS Citizen networks on the ideas and solutions they have for improving maternity care.
The review team will report its findings by the end of the year.