NHS to offer £3000 to pregnant women as a ‘personal budget’

In a bid to help pregnant women select the exact care they receive, the NHS is proposing to offer them a sum of at least £3,000 as a 'personal budget.'

maternity care personal budget

by Hayley Kadrou |
Published on

The expectant mothers will be able to choose how to spend the fee on services including anxiety and pain relieving hypnotherapy to buying one-to-one midwifery care.

This is another step in the NHS’s aim to make-over the maternal care they offer to provide women and families with more choice, and importantly, safer maternity options.

The recommendations have come from an independent review service set up by the NHS after a 2015 inquiry brought to light failures that lead to the deaths of babies at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust.

In the data collected, only out of four women said they wanted to give birth in a hospital, but in reality, nine out ten mums did deliver in maternity wards.

Hence the results called for the NHS not to assume that a hospital is the first and foremost place women want to or should deliver their child.

maternity care personal budget
maternity care personal budget ©alamy

Speaking to the BBC about the proposed introduction of personal budgets, Baroness Cumberledge said women would be given “more clout and more opportunity to exercise the choices that they want".

She proceeded:

"Women are telling us that one of the things they really want is continuity of the person looking after them... who looks after them through the pregnancy, through the birth and through the aftercare, and we know that's going to make a huge different to safety."

Although the review assured parents that the safety standard of British maternity care is at its historical peak, they insist there is still work that can be done towards improvement.

Looking at experience-based evidence from thousands of families, the review - chaired by Conservative peer Baroness Julia Cumberlege - found that there was a lack of confidence amongst the public in the ability of medical professionals to spot and investigate problems thoroughly.

To rectify this, the review has pin-pointed three key areas that the NHS needs to target.

These are: better data collection, faster referral to specialists when problems are noted, and a nationwide consensus into how investigations into care gone wrong incidents are conducted.

A five-year strategy is currently in place to role out this service.

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