Released on: 30 March 2023

Responding to the Three Year Delivery Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Services, NCT's chief executive Angela McConville said: 

“Maternity services are in crisis and in a year when we have seen one damning maternity services report after another, we’re pleased to see NHS England’s renewed focus on improving outcomes for women and babies.  

“We welcome the fact that the Government has recognised that listening to women with compassion is key to providing personalised and safer care. It’s also reassuring to see the focus on equitable care woven through the plan. Safety in birth isn’t a ‘nice-to-have’ - it is a fundamental right - and yet we live in a society where women’s safety in pregnancy, birth and postnatally can depend on where they live, their ethnicity and if they experience multiple disadvantages in life. This inequality has to be corrected.   

“However, the ambition of safer, more equitable and personalised maternity and neonatal services can only be achieved with adequate staffing and a skilled and motivated workforce. We know there is a chronic shortage of midwives and many who are still in the profession are under enormous pressure, disillusioned and feeling undervalued. Although retaining, growing and supporting the workforce is one of the key themes in this plan, there needs to be absolute clarity in how this will be delivered for maximum impact. 

“We’re disappointed to see the lack of emphasis on postnatal care in the plan. In a recent NCT survey, women described care in postnatal wards as ‘carnage’ and ‘hell’. Urgent action is needed to address the breadth and duration of support offered to women in this period. 

“We will continue to scrutinise the Government to ensure the words in the plan are turned into action – and fast.”  

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