Scotland is to pilot a new maternity model next year in which pregnant women will give birth at home or in “community hubs” run by midwives, the country’s health secretary has said.
Under the proposals, which will be tested at five health boards, expectant mothers will still have the option of giving birth in a hospital but usually only if they have a higher risk of complications.
“The new model is a fundamentally different way of delivering maternity services that is focused on individualised, person centred care and continuity of carer”
Earlier this year, a two-year national review found that the majority of maternity care should take place in community settings in the future.
It suggested continuity of care could be improved if women had access to a primary midwife working as part of a multi-disciplinary team based at community hubs.
At the time, the Royal College of Midwives described the plans as a “defining moment for maternity services” that could create “a seismic shift” in the way care was delivered.
“The new model is a fundamentally different way of delivering maternity services that is focused on individualised, person centred care and continuity of carer,” said health secretary Shona Robison in an interview with The Herald newspaper this week in which she laid out the plans.
“The community hub model will see most midwives working in the community, however there will always be women who require to be in hospital during their pregnancy or after birth and therefore maternity wards will remain,” she added.
The five health boards piloting the maternity changes are NHS Forth Valley, Highland, Lanarkshire, Lothian, and the Clyde area within NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
They will begin to roll out the new model of service next year and will assess whether it can be implemented in existing facilities.