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Monday 18th June 2018

Maternity shake-up announced

6th February 2007

09082006_childbirth1.jpgDr Sheila Shribman, the children and maternity tsar, has produced a report in which she suggests the creation of networks of care for maternity services, intensive neo-natal care and paediatric services.

Dr Shribman’s proposals include stripping some hospitals of consultant-led maternity care to make way for midwife-led birthing centres that would work alongside regional super-centres. Critics of her suggestions say women will be losing access to a specialist trained doctor, thus compromising their care, but Dr Shribman insists her proposals will improve the treatment of pregnant and birthing women.

Dr Shribman’s suggested shake-up comes in light of EU restrictions on working hours which means specialist services cannot be provided safely in every local hospital. Her report states it would be better to have the best doctors on hand round-the-clock in regional centres. “I understand people feel anxious when they think they might lose something [but] women will not be losing access to a consultant should they need one, it might not just be down the road," she said.

Mary Newburn, of the National Childbirth Trust, welcomed the move to provide more midwife-led maternity care via local birthing centres saying, "Just because services have been organised around hospitals in the past doesn’t mean this is the best or only way of providing care."

Dr Shibman’s proposals also include increased provision for home births in line with the government’s promise that women will have a full choice of where they give birth by 2009.


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