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National Maternity Review issues recommendations

23 February 2016
Pregnant mother

The National Maternity Review has today published its report, Better Births: Improving outcomes of maternity services in England.

The review was commissioned by NHS England to consider how maternity services needed to change to meet the needs of the population, and also to ensure that learning from the Morecambe Bay Investigation – into poor practice in one trust which resulted in maternal and infant deaths – could be embedded across the NHS.

Led by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, the independent review team spoke to health professionals and parents to develop a range of recommendations aimed at improving maternity services. Bliss was pleased to support the work of the review team in facilitating a range of opportunities for parents of premature and sick babies to contribute their views to the review. Their experiences are reflected in the themes highlighted in the report in the chapter outlining ‘what we heard’.

Specifically in relation to neonatal care, the report recommends that NHS England should take forward a dedicated review of neonatal services in light of the findings of this review.

Caroline Davey, Chief Executive of Bliss, said: ”This review shines a light on the importance of high quality maternity services, but also highlights how much work there is still to do across maternity and neonatal care to ensure that every baby has the best chance of survival and quality of life.

“It is vital that future changes arising from the report’s recommendations fully take into account the needs of the 1 in 8 babies born who will need neonatal care in England, and those of their parents, who may face very different choices and decisions from parents who have a healthy pregnancy and birth.

“Bliss welcomes the recognition that improvements are needed within neonatal care. There is clear evidence that much more needs to be done to ensure that every neonatal unit is resourced to meet national standards for safety and quality, and Bliss urges that plans are taken forward without delay to achieve this to ensure all babies receive the very best care”.

Bliss will continue to campaign for better neonatal services to ensure premature and sick babies have the best chance of survival. If you want to help us, you can sign our open letter to Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England: bliss.org.uk/sign-with-us

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