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Midwives should provide as much post-birth help as necessary

After having a baby, women should be able to access their midwife as much as they require, as well as a health visitor, the National Maternity Review states.

By the end of 2019, commissioners should ensure that women can access a midwife and health visitor after birth, with a smooth transition between the two.

The report - chaired by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, and commissioned by NHS England - also called for the need to end “cultural tensions”, after midwives and obstetricians said there was bad working relationships between health visitors, midwives, nurses, GPs and specialists.

To solve this, “those who work together should train together”, the report read. This year multi-professional training for both routine care and emergencies should become a core part of continued professional development.

This would be funded by the Department of Health and Health Education England until the end of 2017, when employers would foot the bill.

Moreover, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists should review education to ensure multi-professionalism is promoted, the report recommended.

The Institute of Health Visitors said it welcomed the report, stating: “we are particularly pleased at the attention given to the need for closer working and improved training, communication and transitions between the team around the mother including with health visitors and for enhanced postnatal care.

“Where community midwives have been able to be based in children's centres with health visitors, they find together these professionals can be very responsive to mothers' needs so it is helpful to see this model being endorsed,” a spokesperson added.

Women should also be put in control of their own maternity care budgets, the report urged, so that they have “direct control over which provider receives money for their maternity care”.

This would mean that more women could give birth in the community if they choose, from local providers approved by the Care Quality Commission, meeting womens' choices while saving NHS money. 

See the full report here