Safer Maternity Care: The National Maternity Safety Strategy—Progress and Next Steps.London: DHSC; 2017

Draper ES, Gallimore ID, Kurinczuk JJ MBRRACE-UK Perinatal Mortality Surveillance Report, UK Perinatal Deaths for Births from January to December 2016.Leicester: The Infant Mortality and Morbidity Studies, University of Leicester; 2018

Better Births: Improving Outcomes of Maternity Services in England.London: NHS England; 2016

The NHS at 70

02 August 2018
Volume 26 · Issue 8


As the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday, Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent celebrates the advances that have been made to maternity care, and details how you can drive change

On the 5 July 2018, the NHS turned 70 and this was marked by celebrations across the UK. It was humbling to hear the experiences and reflections of many midwives, support staff, obstetricians and neonatologists, whose careers in the NHS span its entire existence. We have so much to be proud of!

My most profound memory of maternity care and how far we have progressed since the inception of the NHS is of a midwife I met at Bournemouth Birth Centre's first birthday in 2015. The midwife, who was guest of honour at the event, celebrated her 100th birthday that year. She spoke candidly about her work during the Second World War and the skills required to provide safe, high quality care at a time when there were frequent air raids and limited resources. She proudly stated that, regardless of the challenges she faced, she put mothers and babies first and that care was based on individual needs, a dose of common sense, resilience and a good listening ear; an approach that has not changed today.

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