Better Births, the report of the National Maternity Review, set out a clear recommendation that the NHS should roll out continuity of carer, to ensure safer care based on a relationship of mutual trust and respect between women and their midwives.
The continuity of carer model is a way of delivering maternity care so that women receive dedicated support from the same midwifery team throughout their pregnancy.
This relationship between care giver and receiver has been proven to lead to better outcomes and safety for the woman and baby, as well as offering a more positive and personal experience; and was the single biggest request of women of their services that was heard during the National Maternity Review.
On 22 December 2017, the Maternity Transformation Programme published Implementing Better Births: Continuity of Carer, to help Local Maternity Systems (LMS) plan and deploy continuity of carer models in their services.
Delivering Midwifery Continuity of Carer at full scale
On 21 October 2021, guidance was published to support Local Maternity Systems and Integrated Care Systems to deliver continuity of carer at full scale, following an extensive process of listening to trusts, services and staff: Delivering Midwifery Continuity of Carer at full scale: Guidance on planning, implementation and monitoring 2021/22
This document provides guidance for maternity services and Local Maternity Systems on how to develop a local plan for achieving Midwifery Continuity of Carer as the default model of care offered to all women. It carefully reflects on the challenges involved in implementing and sustaining this important model of care and identifies essential building blocks and support that are key to further roll out of this important model of care.
This support includes online Midwifery Workforce Tools, which are designed to help midwifery leaders safely plan, simulate and design maternity services.
Building on the recommendations of Better Births and the commitments of the NHS Long Term Plan, the ambition for the NHS in England is for MCoC to be the default model of care available to all pregnant women in England, with rollout prioritised to those most likely to experience poorer outcomes. Where safe staffing allows and essential building blocks are in place, this should be achieved by March 2023.