New proposals suggest that women in Bristol and across England should be given budget so thet can choose what maternity services they want to receive including birthing pools, one to one midwife visits and hypnotherapy.The recommendations come from the latest National Maternity Review, which seeks provide an analysis of services provided for expectant mothers in NHS hospitals and surgeries.
While the NHS England commissioned review states that giving birth in England has “never been safer”, report chair Baroness Julia Cumberlege concluded that maternity care “must become safer, more personalised, kinder, professional and more family-friendly”.
Personal budgets are already in use for the elderly, disabled and those with long-term health conditions.
The report authors believe it would help to empower women throughout their pregnancies.
The allowance system will be trialled this year, before a potential national roll out in 2017.
If approved, women would be able to “bid” for private midwifery services, a home birth, a birthing pool, hypnotherapy and breast feeding support among others.
Baroness Cumberlege said: “To be among the best in the world, we need to put women, babies and their families at the centre of their care.
“It is so important that they are supported through what can be a wonderful and life-changing experience.
“Women have told us they want to be given genuine choices and have the same person looking after them throughout their care.
“We must ensure that all care is as safe as the best and we need to break down boundaries and work together to reduce the variation in the quality of services and provide a good experience for all women.”
Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: “The independent review finds that quality and safety of NHS maternity services has improved substantially over the past decade, and most new mums tell us they are looked after well.
“But it rightly argues that the NHS could and should raise its game on personalised support for parents and their babies, better team working, better use of technology, and more joined up maternity and mental health services.”
Around 700,000 babies are born every year and for the majority, birth will be straightforward, with most families reporting they had a good experience.