‘Neighbourhood Midwives’ is a new social enterprise that will be rolling out across the UK to provide NHS funded maternity care for pregnant women and their families who feel they want/need to know and be cared by the same midwife throughout pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period.
Have a look at their website: http://www.neighbourhoodmidwives.org.uk/
If you are on facebook, click on this link and like this page: https://www.facebook.com/nbrhoodmidwives.
This sort of one-to-one midwifery care will open up choice for women in the sort of midwifery care they receive. But it will also give midwives choice in the way they work. The hope is many will come back into the profession with the promise of building relationships with the women in their care.
Knowing the midwife who will look after you in labour can be vital for women with previous trauma or for women choosing home birth – but can be difficult for cashed strapped hospital trusts to provide. Yet the evidence is out there – knowing your midwife reduces intervention and increases birth satisfaction as well as improving breastfeeding rates. Money is saved in the long term.
One NHS hospital trust already provides this model of care to a degree. The Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has a home birth service where women get to know all four midwives on the team: http://www.royalsurrey.nhs.uk/home_birth. The midwives share the on-call roster and attend 12-18 births a month (both at home or in hospital if their woman has transferred). The midwives are happy to work in this way and the women love the service.
Maybe some healthy competition from Neighbourhood Midwives will mean other trusts set up similar teams ? Time will tell.