What do service users want and who cares?
The NHS Constitution (
The newly updated Code (
This article will provide a definition of a service user in the context of maternity services and outline current policy and professional body requirements in relation to service user involvement in care. It will assess the literature with regards to service user expectations of ‘a good midwife’ and the Friends and Family Test (FFT) (
The word midwife originates from Middle English: probably from the obsolete preposition mid meaning ‘with’ and wife in the archaic sense of meaning ‘woman’ (Oxford Dictionaries, 2015). The current International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) (2011) definition concurs, stating that the midwife ‘works in partnership with women’. Therefore, the idea of the midwife working with women is not new; however, the expectation of women being equal partners in the decision-making process about their care has become a priority in recent government policy and professional regulation.
There is no one definition of a healthcare service user. The Health Professions Council's (HPC) definition is (Chambers and Hickey, 2012: 5):
‘Those who typically use or are affected by the services of registrants once they qualify from programmes and become registered (e.g. patients, clients, carers, organisational clients, colleagues e.t.c.)’
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