NHS England announces national review of maternity care

NHS England has today announced details of a major review of the commissioning of NHS maternity services, as promised in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

The review will assess current maternity care provision and consider how services should be developed to meet the changing needs of women and babies.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said: “Most mums say they get great NHS maternity care, but equally we know we can do better in many places, and today’s Morecambe Bay report is truly shocking. So 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.”

Recent advances in maternity care, changes in the demographics of women having babies, and preferences of where they want to give birth will form a key focus. Terms of reference for the review, released today, state that it will:

  • First, review the UK and international evidence and make recommendations on safe and efficient models of maternity services, including midwife-led units;
  • Second, ensure that the NHS supports and enables women to make safe and appropriate choices of maternity care for them and their babies; and
  • Third, support NHS staff including midwives to provide responsive care.

This review, which is expected to report in by the end of the year, will be led by an external chair, supported by a diverse panel. The appointment of the chair and other review panel members will be announced shortly.