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 published in 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. It is therefore welcome that NHS England and NHS Improvement have committed to the rollout of Midwifery Continuity of Carer, so that it becomes the default model of care for women using maternity services across England by March 2023. Local Maternity Systems have been provided with £90.05 million from 2018 to 2021 to fulfil transformational objectives, including implementing Continuity of Carer models.
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.