Women across North West London are being allocated one dedicated midwife as part of a new way of working designed to improve continuity of care.
The service has been launched by Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, with two new teams – at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital – now providing one-to-one maternity support.
“The real highlight for me is watching these women grow and seeing how they progress with their baby”
Under the system, mothers-to-be are assigned one midwife who acts as their first point of contact, providing ongoing care and support during their pregnancy, birth and the first few weeks back at home with a new baby.
Each midwife is part of a team of six who are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and are available to support mothers if their allocated midwife is unavailable or on annual leave. The service was launched just ahead of International Midwives Day on 5 May, said the trust.
The initiative follows recommendations from the national Better Births report, which highlighted the need to improve continuity of care. The scheme was also shaped by feedback from local mothers.
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Midwives said they appreciated the new approach, which allowed them to form trusting relationships with the women under their care.
Midwife Madoussou Dosso has been working with the new team at Chelsea and Westminster for nearly four months. “I enjoy working this way because you get to build relationships with the women you are caring for,” she said.
“The real highlight for me is watching these women grow and seeing how they progress with their baby,” she said. “Being on call can be tiring, but it’s also exciting to know that I am going to be there when one of my women gives birth.”
“This new way of working brings joy to our midwives, as you can really take the time to get to know each woman”
Managers said working in a close-knit team also made it easier for midwives to plan their workload and support each other, plus they had more time to find out about the women they were caring for and their needs and wishes.
“This new way of working brings joy to our midwives, as you can really take the time to get to know each woman you are taking care of,” said Natalie Carter, the trust’s consultant midwife.
“Life becomes a lot easier, because when it’s time for the women to give birth you won’t have to spend time looking at their notes as you will know the woman well already,” she said.
“You get the opportunity to build lasting relationships, work in really close-knit teams and for the women, care is seamless,” she added.
The new service is part of a wider programme running across eight boroughs covered by the North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups, which was awarded national funding to improve maternity care.
Other initiatives include the creation of a set of information booklets for families, and the development and imminent launch of a maternity app designed to explain the options available to women when they are considering where to give birth and the type of birth they would like, and to create a personalised plan for pregnancy and birth.