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WI welcomes the publication of NHS England Maternity Review

The National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI) has today welcomed the publication of the National Maternity Review, a five year forward plan for maternity services.

Maternity care is an area of long-standing concern for WI members. Following a 2012 resolution passed by the membership calling for greater investment in the midwifery workforce, the NFWI surveyed over 5,500 women on their maternity experiences to find out how the shortage of midwives impacted the quality of care they received. Findings from our report Support Overdue (2013) were used in the official terms of reference for the National Maternity Review that is out today.

In response to Review's recommendations, NFWI Public Affairs Chair Marylyn Haines Evans said:
"Members of the WI will be pleased to see that the recommendations from our research for more personalised and respectful care for women across the entire maternity pathway have been taken up. While most women giving birth in England today enjoy some of the highest quality maternity care in the world, we know from our research that maternity services are still failing too many women and their babies. We also know that a lack of investment in the midwifery workforce means that many midwives are struggling to provide the high quality of care that they know women deserve.

"Women want to be able to choose the care that is right for them without compromising on safety for them or their baby. We welcome the Review's recommendations for personalised care plans and personal maternity care budgets that will enable women to make those decisions in real-time.

"We welcome the Review's acknowledgment that change in maternity service provision cannot happen without changes to midwifery staffing models. As the Review stresses, midwifery staffing levels have to be adequate across the board to ensure the delivery of high quality care and midwives must be empowered to use their skills more effectively. We welcome the proposed call for a continuity of carer model of midwifery staffing and will monitor progress with interest."