Midwives are to become the first point of contact for pregnant women in Wales, under a new plan announced by the Assembly government.
Edwina Hart, the country’s health minister, said midwives will co-ordinate the care of women before and after childbirth, such as arranging transfers to see consultant obstetricians.
The 10-year plan outlines how services could be improved, ensuring universal access to care throughout Wales.
Midwifery 2020: Delivering Expectations, a document led by former chief nursing officer for Wales Rosemary Kennedy, says the main health professional for soon-to-be mothers should be a midwife.
Mrs Hart said: “This document will inform the development of our strategy for wider maternity services.”
Helen Rogers, board secretary of the Royal College of Midwives for Wales, said: “This puts the midwife at the centre of care for pregnant women, as the lead professional for all healthy women with straightforward pregnancies and, as the key coordinator of care for all other women.
“It is a forward thinking vision for maternity services that the RCM supports and endorses. The challenge now is to act on the recommendations and make them happen.”