Pregnant women up and down England are set to benefit from new specialist treatment centres as the NHS looks to deliver on its pledge to halve maternal mortality by 2025 and keep the country as one of the safest in the world to give birth.
There will be at least one of these 17 new centres of excellence in every region of the country, with women able to access advice from multidisciplinary teams that combine the expertise of physicians, obstetricians, midwives, nurses and other specialised healthcare professionals.
National Clinical Director for Maternity and Women’s Health, Dr Matthew Jolly, said: “For a number of years too often we have seen symptoms of serious medical problems being missed or misattributed to pregnancy.
“Maternal Medical Networks and their specialist centres are a vital step in improving the identification and management of potentially fatal medical conditions in pregnancy, wherever a woman receives care, and to ensure England continues to improve in its position as one of the safest countries in the world to give birth.”
Service-users will be able to get support before, during and after pregnancy with the health service ensuring each hub features at least one obstetric physician – doctors who specialise in medical problems and treatment during pregnancy.
In the past, there have been fewer than 10 obstetric physicians in England, but, in line with the aforementioned commitment, the NHS has funded the development of a further six consultants, with three more set to begin working by the end of 2024.
Maria Caulfield, Minister for Mental Health and Women’s Health Strategy, added: “We’re working hard to make sure giving birth in the UK is as safe as possible – including for anyone with pre-existing medical conditions.
“Specialist treatment centres provide access to medical care for conditions that exist before, or arise during pregnancy. Working with other health professionals, the centres will ensure maternity and medical staff can provide the right support as soon as its needed.
“We are improving the quality of NHS care for mothers and babies and have invested £127m to grow the workforce and improve neonatal care.”