The Government has announced major changes to maternity services including the digitisation of child and maternity health records.
The Department of Health and Social Care has announced modernisation of neonatal and maturity services in a bid to improve safety, quality and continuity of care.
While official figures show that the number of stillbirths have declined steadily since 2010, England still lags behind many European countries on baby deaths.
The plans, which are backed a funding increase of £20.5 billion, include digitising the paper child health record and maternity record, improved accommodation for critically ill new-borns, wider availability of physiotherapy for women who experience incontinence after childbirth and offering accredited evidence-based infant feeding programmes.
Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has also promised an increase in staffing numbers – with more expert neonatal nurses and specialists, and new roles – which could include the introduction of associate midwives.
‘We need to keep pace with the times’.
Matt Hancock said: “Having a baby is one of the best moments of our lives, so I want our NHS to be the best place in the world to give birth. Today we will take steps to ensure every expectant mother is supported – from pregnancy, to birth, to those critical first months of parenthood – with a comprehensive package of personalised, high-quality support.
“Every parent will remember the red book that comes from the NHS with each baby. In this digital age we need to keep pace with the times. So, from birth, each child will now be able to start life using the best of modern technology – in a way that’s easier for parents and fit for the future.
“Great care also means safe care, but sadly too many women are still suffering the unimaginable tragedy of losing a child.
Adding; “We are committed to saving 4,000 lives by 2025 by halving stillbirths, maternal and infant deaths and serious brain injuries in new-borns.
“These new measures to improve maternity care, funded by taxpayers as part of the NHS long-term plan, will mean hundreds of thousands of new families get the very best care.