Thank you for emailing me about maternity care, in particular the continuity of carer model.
I agree that every woman and their baby should receive personalised, high quality care. One of the key commitments in the NHS Long Term Plan (LTP) published in January 2019 is to make the NHS one of the safest places in the world to give birth. The Government has set out a range of new measures to deliver its ambition to halve the rates of stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries that occur during or soon after labour, and maternal deaths by 2025. To help meet this target, I welcome the Government’s announcement that it will recruit 3,000 more midwives.
I firmly agree that the continuity of carer model is extremely important, and is associated with reduced pre-term births, hospital admissions, reduced need for intervention during labour, and an improved experience of care. Local maternity units are rolling out a standard continuity of carer model and the NHS Planning Guidance 2019/20 stated that that they should prioritise women who could be at higher risk. I know that work is ongoing to roll out this model, though that has been slightly more difficult during the 12 months of the coronavirus pandemic.
While it is welcome that the target to reduce neonatal stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates by 20 per cent by 2020 was met, with almost a 25 per cent reduction reported, more work is being done in this area to further reduce these rates. Losing a baby is devastating, and it is vital we do everything possible to ensure that parents who have previously lost a baby are properly and consistently supported through any future pregnancies.
Thank you again for contacting me.