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Concerns over antenatal care

Antenatal care in Britain is "fragmented", the chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners said today.

Professor Mavur Lakhani raised concerns that antenatal care "has tended to fall off the healthcare agenda".

The response comes as the National Childbirth Trust releases a report claiming that there have been service cuts to antenatal classes, breastfeeding support services and postnatal visits throughout the NHS.

Financial problems have caused cutbacks or even closure of antenatal classes and visits to maternity units in 19 areas in England and Wales, the organisation states.

Mr Lakhani urged for a "clear and strong commitment" by the NHS to improve services for expectant mothers "so that we can have world-class maternity care".

Midwives, GPs and consultants should all be involved in designing services, he added.

The National Service Framework on Maternity, published in 1994, recommends "approachable and supportive" antenatal services in "convenient and accessible setting" for expectant mothers.

From www.netdoctor.co.uk 26/3/07