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Continuity of carer

02 February 2018
2 min read
Volume 26 · Issue 2


The idea behind continuity of carer may be simple but, as Claire Axcell writes, evidence shows the effect that it can have on the NHS and on women and their families

Over the Christmas period, standards for continuity of carer in maternity services were published by NHS England (2017), against a backdrop of reports of A&Es in crisis and routine operations being cancelled as the NHS struggled to cope (Donelly, 2018).

For women, continuity of carer is the gold standard in midwifery care, and evidence (Sandall, 2014) shows the effect of such a simple act on a women who experiences this as her maternity pathway. The outcomes of a woman having midwifery care as part of a caseload are manifold: women have a higher chance of having a vaginal delivery, less chance of preterm birth, shorter labours and higher rates of satisfaction with their birth experience (Sandall, 2014). We only have to see the outrage over the decisions by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) (2017) regarding independent midwives' insurance and the work of the Albany Midwifery Practice, to see the kind of passion and outcomes that caseloading can bring (Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services, 2014). Better Births (National Maternity Review, 2016) recommends that every woman has an individualised care plan, with her at the centre of it.

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