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Wales 'prioritises' staff leadership in new maternity vision

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The Welsh government has announced its new five-year vision for maternity care, which includes a commitment to leadership development and appropriate staffing levels.

The new document, that was launched on Wednesday, sets out the Welsh government’s vision for achieving high quality maternity services in the country between 2019 and 2024.

“It’s encouraging to see clear actions and responsibilities outlined within the vision”

Helen Rogers

It aims to ensure that “pregnancy and childbirth are a safe and positive experience, and parents are supported to give their children the best start in life”.

As part of its five-year vision, the Welsh government also wants to ensure that “high performing multi-professional teams deliver family-centred care within health boards which display strong leadership within a culture of research and development, continuous learning, best practice and innovation”.

The government will work to achieve its vision through the following five principles of maternity care:

  • Family centred care
  • Safe and effective care
  • Continuity of carer
  • Skilled multi-professional teams
  • Sustainable quality services

The document sets out a series of commitments to both those working in the profession and for the women they will care for.

In the document, titled ‘Maternity Care in Wales: A Five Year Vision for the Future’, it states that health boards will commit to ensuring that maternity staff have access to continual professional development and to embed leadership skills into practice.

The government has marked leadership development as a priority and pledged to offer staff different opportunities to progress. 

In addition, the document asserts that all units will have “have appropriate staffing levels to ensure safe and individualised care for all women in Wales”.

“Staffing will be optimised through retention of staff groups and safe workforce planning,” the document said.

Meanwhile, the document also pledges to provide electronic records for all pregnant women in the country to enhance “effective communication” between health professionals.

It also promises that all women will have a named midwife and will receive continuity of carer across their maternity journey.

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) in Wales has welcomed the vision and its commitments to maternity care.

RCM director for Wales, Helen Rogers, said: “The RCM very much welcomes the launch of this vision for maternity services in Wales and it’s encouraging to see clear actions and responsibilities outlined within the vision.

“Leadership development has also been included as a priority and we are pleased with that, as we know this is key to developing and delivering safe, high quality maternity services,” she said.

“The vision provides us with the route map to deliver high quality and safe services”

Vaughan Gething

“The commitment to providing electronic maternity records for all pregnant women in Wales is important and will towards improving communication between all health care professionals, ensuring important details are not missed and in turn improving safety,” she added.

Ms Rogers also said that the commitment to continuity of carer was “very important”, noting that there was evidence to support that women have a “safer and better pregnancy and birth when they get this continuity”.

She added: “What is important now is that we have the right amount staff with access to the right training, to support the safe delivery of this ambitious maternity vision for women and their families in Wales.”

Minister for health and social services in Wales, Vaughan Gething, said: “The vision provides us with the route map to deliver high quality and safe services which secure improved health and wellbeing for mothers and babies in the short, medium and long term.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board

Vaughan Gething

Vaughan Gething

“It is however only the start, following the launch of the vision it is intended that clinicians, healthcare professionals, women and their families will continue to come together to ensure the aspirations of this vision are delivered over the next five years,” he said.

“Key work streams related to the themes of the vision will be established to ensure the aspirations are translated into deliverable national and health board actions which have measurable outcomes and ongoing evaluation,” he added.

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