Community midwifery hubs will be introduced by 2020 to enable women to have better access to their midwives, recommends the National Maternity Review.
The community hub will be a local centre where women can access different aspects of their maternity care. The hub could be located in a children's centre or in a freestanding midwifery centre. It was also suggested that they could be embedded within the new models of primary care such as the multispeciality community providers. However, the review states that the recommendations are not prescriptive and should be implemented based on local need and services.
Other services such as ultrasound services, smoking cessation or voluntary services providing peer support would also be available from the hubs. Women can also have the opportunity to connect with professionals who will be working with them after childbirth such as their health visitor. The community hubs should also have close relationships with nearby obstetric and neonatal units.
Writing in the introduction of the report Baroness Cumberledge achnowledged that some community-based services were struggling to survive, while some women were unable to choose the service they wanted.
'We found almost total unanimity from mothers that they want their midwife to be with them from the start, through pregnancy, birth and then after birth. Time and again mothers said that they hardly ever saw the same professional twice, they found themselves repeating the same story because their notes had not been read,' she wrote. The plans for the community hubs will be in place and agreed by the end of 2016/17 and rolled out by 2020. Examples highlighted in the review was the Portsmouth Birth Centre and the Barkantine Birth Centre in London.
The Review, carried out by Baroness Cumberledge and commissioned by NHS England, looked at the state of maternity services in England and ways to improve practice.