The NHS in England has today announced a £127 million funding boost for maternity services across England that will help ensure safer and more personalised care for women and their babies.
Announced at the NHS England board meeting today, the NHS said that the major investment will boost the workforce and help improve the culture in maternity units.
More than £50 million will be provided to Trusts across the country over the next two years to boost staffing numbers in maternity and neonatal services.
Around £34 million will also be invested in local maternity systems, in culture and leadership development programmes and in supporting staff retention roles.
In addition, £45 million of capital funding will be available to hospitals over the next three years to increase the number neonatal cots across England, so that babies will receive the best quality care, in the most appropriate clinical setting.
The new funding also builds upon the £95 million package of support for maternity services in England announced last year to boost maternity workforce numbers with 1,300 new roles- 1200- midwives and 100 obstetricians -alongside more training, development and leadership programmes.
Health chiefs have already set out how £8 million of this funding will be used to support the retention of all midwives, support students and those with midwives with less experience.
Investment to bolster the maternity workforce in England will support delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan’s ambition of making England the safest place in the world to give birth, while also accelerating action to reduce stillbirth by half, maternal mortality, neonatal mortality and serious brain injury by 2025.
Professor Jaqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE, NHS England’s Chief Midwifery Officer, said: “Midwives have a rewarding, important and privileged role, and this new funding will be vital in providing them with a continuous improvement process that that supports them personally and professionally, to enhance the quality of care for women and babies.
“We want the NHS to be the safest place in the world to give birth and this funding will help us to do this”.
Speaking at the monthly board meeting, NHS Chief Executive, Amanda Pritchard, said: “This new multi-million pound funding will build on the significant steps we’ve taken in recent years to transform the care for pregnant women and their babies.
“We will not hesitate in taking further action to learn, improve and ensure that all women who use maternity services receive the best care possible”.
The number of newly qualified midwives is set to increase in future years, with 450 extra students starting undergraduate midwifery courses this year compared to 2019.
Primary Care Minister Maria Caulfield said: “We want to level up maternity care across the country, ensuring women and their children receive the best possible support.
“Alongside today’s funding, we’ve invested £5 million to reduce brain injuries at birth and I’ve launched a Maternity Disparities Taskforce to bring together a wide range of experts to deliver change so we can improve care for all women, no matter their background”.
As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, 42 Local Maternity Systems across the country are bringing together local health organisations, clinicians and families to make sure maternity services meet the needs of their communities, and therefore deliver continued improvements in outcomes.