Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Scottish ministers announce review of maternity and neonatal services

  • 1 Comment

The Scottish Government has announced a “refresh” of its policies on maternity and neonatal services to ensure “every mother and baby continues to get the best possible care”.

The government said it would review the latest evidence and best practice to enhance services and increase the choice available to pregnant women.

The review would conclude with proposals for a “refreshed Scottish model of care”, which could potentially include more options for home births and births in midwife-led or community settings.

The assessment would look at examples of “new and innovative” practice, and consider the levels and types of services available in Scotland, said ministers.

“We have excellent and safe maternity and neonatal services in Scotland, but we want to make sure they continue to improve”

Maureen Watt

For example, they noted new evidence around the benefits of different birth settings for mothers and babies would be considered “in the face” of Scotland’s changing demographics and birth rates.

They added that further details on the scope and process of the review would be announced “in due course”, following a short period of consultation with key organisations and patient representatives.

The report will also consider any relevant recommendations from the independent investigation into infant and maternal deaths at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which is due to be published next week.

Maureen Watt, Scottish minister for public health, said: “We have excellent and safe maternity and neonatal services in Scotland, but we want to make sure they continue to improve.

“Changes to birth rate, demographics, new best practice and guidelines, all need to be taken into account as we look to enhance the services provided to babies and their families,” she said.

“That is why we are going to assess the services we have in place at the moment, working with experts and expectant mums and dads themselves. This will lead to a refreshed model of care, focusing on what works well and spreading best practice across our NHS,” she added.

“It is right the Scottish Government are looking at our maternity and neonatal services, given the pressures on the service from more complex cases and the ageing workforce”

Gillian Smith

Gillian Smith, director of Royal College of Midwives Scotland, welcomed the review, “given the pressures on the service from more complex cases and the ageing workforce”.

She noted recent clinical research and also guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence that suggested “we should be shifting our focus from hospital-based births to more conducive birth environments – whether that is in midwife-led units or at home”.

“Our members want to deliver the best quality care for mothers and babies, and we look forward to being involved in this work and helping to shape the future direction for maternity services in Scotland,” she said.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Childbirth is only ever 'normal' in retrospect and my worry is that as maternity wards in hospitals become more and more overcrowded, mothers will be coerced into having their babies at home as a cost cutting exercise. I am very much in favour of midwifery led units, however they should be attached to consultant units with neonatal services available if required, otherwise they are as risky as home births. Whatever 'research' tells us, as a neonatal nurse I see babies every week who would be seriously compromised if they had not had on site neonatal back up at and after delivery. These are term infants or women who would be considered low risk. Well I would not 'risk' it!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.