NHS England has published its Chief Midwifery Officer for England’s strategic plan for research. This strategic plan sets out a framework for developing and investing in research activity across the NHS in partnership with others.
The vision for maternity and neonatal services is to provide safer and more personalised care for women and their families across England. The plan builds on the landmark Better births review, the Neonatal critical care review, and the Three-year delivery plan for maternity and neonatal services. In this way it supports the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan commitments to halve the number of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries by 2025, and the Core20PLUS5 intention to reduce healthcare inequalities at a local and system level.
Research is recognised for its importance in healthcare; it is one of the main drivers in providing evidence-based improved treatment and care. In general, NHS trusts that are highly research active have better outcomes for patients across their services, even if individual patients are not part of research. This requires a sustainable and supported research workforce – which offers rewarding opportunities and exciting careers for all healthcare and research staff of all professional backgrounds. It also requires boosting areas of high research need and historical under-investment in groups such as midwives.
This Chief Midwifery Officer for England’s strategic plan for research supports NHS England commitments to improve care and aligns with Making research matter: Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for England’s strategic plan for research. It has been developed working in partnership with the CNO Research team, the Innovation, Research and Life Sciences Group at NHS England and the National Institute of Health Research. This plan aligns with and supports plans to increase research in the NHS and complements ambitions set out in the Department of Health and Social Care’s vision for research – to make ‘research everybody’s business’.