21st Century midwifery: NHS community midwifery models

Title: 21st Century midwifery: NHS community midwifery models.

Description:

Annie Francis and Brenda van der Kooy report on a new model of midwifery care, fully supported by AIMS, from the Independent Midwives Association (IMA)

Content:

Many AIMS members will have experienced the difficulties involved in trying to get the kind of care they want for themselves and their babies. A large proportion of the complaints referred to AIMS come from women trying to arrange for true continuity of care either in hospital or at home, a home birth or a water birth. The Independent Midwives Association (IMA) has developed a new model of midwifery care that would be responsive to these needs. Now under consideration by the Department of Health, our suggestion is that this new model should sit alongside the current provision, and be available to any midwife interested in working in this way and to any woman who would like to have genuine continuity of care. The concept is easy. When a woman gets pregnant, she has direct access to a list of midwives local to her. She meets one or two and chooses the one she feels most comfortable with. That midwife then enters into a contract with the NHS, which pays on a set-fee-per-case basis. This is the beginning of a relationship between the midwife and the woman which can develop over the months of pregnancy and provide a firm foundation for an equal partnership based on trust. This, as the research shows, makes for good outcomes and positive experiences for everyone involved. And it isn’t just about home births-the midwife would have full access to NHS facilities so that her client could choose the place and type of birth that most suits her needs. One of the major problems facing the provision of maternity services today is the shortage of midwives. Despite many initiatives to improve recruitment and retention within the midwifery profession, the crisis is deepening.

A new approach is needed and we believe our community midwifery model-if made available to those women who want it, no matter where they live or what socio-economic class they come from-would be good for mothers and babies as well as good for midwives. To read about our proposal in more detail, visit the IMA website: www.independentmidwives.org.uk.

Source:

Annie Francis and Brenda van der Kooy AIMS Journal, Summer 2004, Vol 16 No 2

Disclaimer:

Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent those of The Federation of Antenatal Educators (FEDANT) unless specifically stated.

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