The number of births in the UK has been on the increase over the last few years. According to the Office for National Statistics, Birth Characteristics in England and Wales 2014, there was 566,735 births in the UK in 2001 compared to 664,543 in 2014. It is expected that this number will increase by 3% to 691,038 by 2020.

In February 2016, the National Maternity Review, commissioned by the NHS, published its recommendations for change in maternity services over the next five years.

The review identified several concerns women have with the current health services.

1) Safe and personalized care

  • Having greater access maternity services that are safe and keep them as safe as possible.
  • Women, their babies and their families be the centre focus of care.
  • Being able to choose the care that is right for them, their family and their circumstances
  • Being listened to: about what they want for themselves and their baby, and to be taken seriously when they raise concerns.
  • Wanting to know and form a relationship with the professionals caring for them.
  • Being assured that all the healthcare professionals caring for them are fully trained and competent
  • Fathers being more involved and their role recognised
  • Improvement in quality and consistent communication throughout the care
  • Use of electronic records
  • Greater consistency in advice given from healthcare professionals throughout their care.
  • Greater access to appropriate information to enable women to make genuinely informed decisions about their care and where to give birth.
  • Being better informed about risks, especially those symptoms they should act upon (such as reduced fetal movements)and what signs to look out for.
  • Being listed to and taken seriously when women expressed concerns about their baby.

2) Care when a baby dies

  • Being treated with greater care, compassion and kindness.
  • Not sharing facilities on labour wards with those women who had just given birth
  • Being given more time to come to terms with their loss before having to leave the hospital

3) Care when complications arise which affect the health of the mother or baby


  • Having more confidence that complications would be picked up and staff would understand the impact on women and their families.
  • Being listened to and taken seriously when women have concerns about their or their baby’s health
  • High quality investigations taking place if baby is harmed which are factually correct and unbiased
  • Having access to better facilities

4) Care for women expecting more than one baby

  • Greater recognition of high risk to those who have multiple births.

5) Care for women with different backgrounds

  • Greater understanding and respect to cultural, personal circumstances, decisions by healthcare professionals
  • Greater engagement between service providers and their communities.
  • Providing information in a format which is easy to read and understand for people who have difficulty communicating and with learning disabilities

6) Postnatal care

  • Longer postnatal support
  • Additional postnatal support
  • Improved support in breast-feeding
  • Greater communication


The review then identified the following key priorities and recommendations to ensure that women and babies receive excellent care.

1) Personalized care:

  • Every woman should have a personalized care plan
  • NHS Personal Maternity Care Budget be introduced
  • Women should be informed of risks and be supported to make decisions which would keep them as safe as possible

2) Coordination and continuity

  • Every woman have a midwife, who is part of a small team of four to six midwives, based in the community who know the patient and her family, and can provide continuity of care throughout the pregnancy, birth and postnatally.
  • Setting up local community hubs for women and their families to access and be a one stop shop for the various elements of their maternity care.
  • Greater investment in electronic maternity records,
  • Availability of easily accessible technological solutions such as mobile phone apps
  • Greater access to comprehensive digital sources of information


3) Safer Care:

  • Women should be informed of risks and be supported to make decisions which would keep them as safe as possible
  • There should be rapid referral and access to more specialist services when they are needed
  • When things go wrong, there should be a rapid investigation, support for staff involved, openness and honesty with the family, and provision made for their needs through a rapid resolution and redress system
  • Routine data collections on the quality and outcomes of services,
  • Setting up a national standardized investigation process for when things do go wrong, ensuring honesty and learning so that improvements can be made as a consequence
  • Improving prevention and reducing health inequalities
  • Digital information for improved choice and care

4) Better postnatal and perinatal mental health care-

  • Resourcing postnatal care and tailoring it to the woman’s needs
  • Endorsing the recommendation of the Mental Health Taskforce for a step change in the provision of perinatal mental health care across England
  • More support after the birth
  • Mental health support for all

5) Multi-professional working,

  • Those who work together should train together.

6) A payment system that fairly and more precisely compensates providers for delivering different types of care to all women

7) Working across boundaries

  • Providers and commissioners should come together in local maternity systems

If your pregnancy was mistreated or mismanaged you may be able to bring a medical negligence claim. Our clinical negligence team can help you bring a compensation claim, which can give you and your family peace of mind.


For further information, please contact Mustafa Ibrahim, or visit our pages, Birth Injury, Pregnancy & Gynaecology Claims.

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