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Plans to support safer maternity care

02 February 2018
Volume 26 · Issue 2


Maternity care in the UK is changing. Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent OBE discusses the new initiatives being introduced to improve safety for women and babies

Maternity care in England is being transformed, so that women and babies receive safer, more personalised care (National Maternity Review, 2016). Most women have good outcomes and positive experiences (Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), 2017): the stillbirth rate has fallen by 16% from 2010–2016, and the neonatal death rate has fallen 10% from 2010–2015. Compared to other European countries, however, the UK ranks 19th out of 28 for neonatal mortality. This is a drop of 12 places since 1990, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) (2017), so there is still more to be done.

The ambition set by the DHSC to halve the number of stillbirths, brain injuries, and maternal and neonatal deaths that occur during or soon after birth by 2025 (DHSC, 2017) remains a national priority that requires a concerted, co-ordinated effort from leaders and managers, midwives, obstetricians, neonatologists, support staff and care commissioning groups.

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