The ‘Better Births’ report and initiative is the result of the National Maternity Review commissioned by NHS England. It sets out a five year plan for transforming maternity services through implementation by Local Maternity Systems supported by NHS resource packs.
The National Maternity Review
The National Maternity Review clarified their aims as follows:
‘Our vision for maternity services across England is for them to become safer, more personalised, kinder, professional and more family friendly; where every woman has access to information to enable her to make decisions about her care; and where she and her baby can access support that is centred around their individual needs and circumstances.’
Key aspects of ‘Better Births’
The initiative identifies seven key aspects of maternity services which, if effectively implemented, aim to achieve the above quality of experience and service.
These seven aspects are as follows:
- Personalised care
- Continuity of carer
- Safer care
- Better postnatal and perinatal mental health
- Multi-professional working
- Working across boundaries
- A fair payment system for service providers
Better Births and Perineal Injury
A number of criteria within the plan could help to ensure women’s safety throughout the process of childbirth and perhaps reduce the experience of perineal trauma and its aftermath.
- The aim to provide ‘personalised care’ includes a requirement for individualised care plans taking into account the needs and decisions of the mother ‘informed by unbiased information’. This could include the decision as to whether to give birth vaginally or through a caesarean section. It could also include consideration of the birthing position in the case of a vaginal birth. Many women have expressed concern that the occurrence of severe perineal injury during childbirth is not widely recognised and, as a result, they felt unprepared for the trauma which they subsequently suffered when the birth of the baby resulted in a significant, long-term injury.
- The factor identified by women as that which could most improve their experience of childbirth is the provision of continuity of care where their midwife can provide support before, during and after the birth as well as liaising with other medical professionals and services. The hope is that this would help to create a relationship of trust and ensuring that the woman’s wishes regarding the birth are respected.
- The specific recognition of a need to create a ‘safety culture’ which focuses on the care of the mother and investigates any failings in the service in order to try to bring about continuous improvement is significant at a time when severe perineal injuries appear to be increasing.
The attempt to improve maternity services is laudable and necessary but it is also a recognition that services need improving and the stories of the many women we have supported is testament to how often this natural experience can go wrong.
If you are suffering the appalling long-term effects of a severe perineal injury which was misdiagnosed, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Contact us now to discuss your experience with a specialist medical negligence solicitor.
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If you, or your family member, has suffered a birth injury tear, please call us now for free, no obligation advice on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile click to call 01275 334030) or complete our Free Online Enquiry.