Hospital Dr News

Pioneering maternity contract with private sector

Wirral has become the first NHS trust to sign a contract with a private company to provide maternity care.

NHS Wirral has developed a deal with One to One to provide women in the local area with a midwife who sees them through all their antenatal care, birth of the baby and postnatal care.

Joanne Parkington, founder and clinical director of One to One, said the contract is the “biggest thing to happen in midwifery” since The Midwives Act 1902 which established the state regulation of midwives.

The company now plans to develop similar relationships with other PCTs across the North West and England and Wales as a whole.

The ground-breaking contract – initially for three years – followed a successful pilot scheme with NHS Wirral PCT in which more than 200 mothers-to-be were able to use One to One for all aspects of their pregnancy other than the actual birth.

However, with the backing of the Department of Health, the company has secured the insurance it requires to now be able to provide expectant mothers with the complete service including delivery.

Joanne Parkington said: “One to One aims to reinvent free midwifery services by delivering a personalised service that places women and their families at the heart of their care.

“Continuity of carer has been shown to increase the normal birth rate, reduce hospital admissions and associated interventions, improve breast-feeding rates and boost women’s satisfaction with the whole maternity service.

“For the first time, the NHS is able to give women choice in their maternity care. It will also relieve the pressure on the existing NHS system and introduce a specialised service for teenagers and the most vulnerable.”

The One to One service is being delivered by a team of experienced midwives. Every woman is introduced to her named midwife following her first contact with the service.

The aim is for all women to have received an initial risk assessment and booking by 10 weeks of pregnancy and follow up care is then provided on an individual needs-assessed basis.

Clinics are available evenings and weekends to promote access and to be responsive to the needs of women and to improve partner involvement. There will also be “drop-in” clinics.

The contract signing comes just days after the annual conference of the Royal College of Midwives was told by its chief executive Cathy Warwick that “there is a growing disparity between the increasing demands that are made on midwives and the dwindling resources that they have at their disposal”.

A Royal College of Midwives spokesperson welcomed the contract as an add-on service for women but expressed reservations about the potential impact upon jobs for midwives in the NHS.

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One Response to “Pioneering maternity contract with private sector”

  1. Malcolm Morrison says:

    This sounds as though it may have many advantages – for the straightforward pregnancy. But where do the obstetricians fit in? Will they be ‘cost-effective’ in a reduced hospital service? Maybe they are to be made redundant!
    Retired Orthopod

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