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Wales maternity services to be 'among best in world'

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Maternity care in Wales will be increasingly delivered in homes and community settings, according to a draft strategy published last week by the Welsh Assembly.

This will necessitate “a review of staff roles to ensure that staff are appropriately trained and skilled”, the strategy says.

The plans, intended to make Welsh maternity services “among the best anywhere”, also focus on improving health during pregnancy, as Wales has the highest rates in the UK of expectant mothers who smoke or are obese.

Health minister for Wales Edwina Hart said: “Maternity services have improved significantly in recent years with more investment in new equipment, facilities and staff.

“The new strategy aims to build on the achievements so far, ensure consistency in services, and support across Wales.”

Chief nursing officer for Wales Jean White added: “Pregnancy is a powerful motivator for change and a time when women and their partners, often for the first time, make positive lifestyle changes and choices in order to provide the optimal conditions to ensure the health and wellbeing of their unborn baby.

“Pregnancy therefore presents a golden opportunity to impact on the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities.”  

The draft strategy sets out plans to ensure maternity services in Wales will:

  •  aim to be among the best anywhere in the world;
  •  place the needs of the mother and family at the centre of maternity care, including offering support for all new families;
  •  provide a range of high quality choices of care, from midwife to consultant-led services, in a range of settings that include home, hospital, or midwife-led birth centres;
  •  employ a highly trained workforce which is empowered to deliver; and,
  •   encourage a learning environment that supports research and development and use of the best evidence, with constant monitoring for quality and safety of provision.

The consultation on the draft strategy closes on 11 April.

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