What the national maternity review team should know: action for June


Baroness Julia Cumberlege

The news that a national review of maternity services in England was going to take place, led by Baroness Julia Cumberlege, was more than welcomed. The process is now underway, and information of the progress is filtering through, and more is eagerly awaited. 

I am hopeful for the future, given the growing body of evidence, data from surveys, national policy documents, and feedback from those who use and deliver maternity services. Being an avid user of social media, I am regularly in the centre of discussions about childbirth, and most importantly, I find myself reading blog posts of detailed stories and accounts of childbirth written usually by women who feel compelled to share their experiences. I also read about wonderful maternity care celebrated by staff working in nurturing environments, and other less positive revelations of over-worked demoralised maternity workers, usually midwives. I’ve written before about the ever-increasing opportunities of social media, and the virtuous circles that can emerge when childbearing women and their families, and all those involved in providing maternity services come together to enable change. But action is needed, and those members of the maternity review team, tasked with collating evidence and opinion, will be looking for ways to enable this to happen with efficiency.  There are processes in place for individuals and organisations to provide feedback to inform the review process, and the team are planning more ways of engaging with interested parties. 

So, in the month of June, I invited guest posts for my blog from individuals who felt they have information or ideas to offer the team. The first post was by the dynamic duo Gill Philips CEO of Whose Shoes?, and obstetrician Florence Wilcock, who together have developed an ever expanding and inclusive #MatExp dialogue via workshops and social media. Gill and Flo are working so hard to try to influence the way maternity care is delivered....here is a reflection of their first year! 



Then came the rest... one post by mother Michelle Quashie, who had a vaginal birth after Caesarean section, inspirational student midwife Hannah Tizzard's views of evidence and practice, Victoria Morgan, who is developing the 'Every Birth a Safe Birth' methodology,  Helen Calvert asked lots of mothers what there views were, mother and campaigner Leigh Kendall, who tragically lost her baby boy Hugo aged 35 days, and Natalie Meddings, doula, has given us an insight into her antenatal group choices for place of birth! 

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