Report highlights value of midwives
Posted on 16/05/2011
A midwife with a patient
In honour of International Day of the Midwife (IDM) on Thursday 5 May, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) released the report 'The Socio-economic Value of the Midwife,' which highlights the important role of midwives during pregnancy and childbirth. The report confirms that investing in midwives and midwife-led care is central to delivering high quality maternity care.
The report, which was released at the RCM’s Conference 'Celebrating Midwives: Celebrating Achievements', was co-authored by Jane Sandall, Professor of Social Science and Women's Health, School of Medicine and at the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery, King's College London, confirms that investing in midwives and midwife-led care is central to delivering high quality maternity care. Jane Sandall said the report on the economic value added to the evidence already in the Cochrane Review on Midwife-led care on which she leads and gave a talk about at the conference.
RCM General Secretary Cathy Warwick said: 'The purpose of this study is to provide a robust assessment of evidence for the clinical and socio-economic effectiveness of midwife-led models of care to inform maternity care policy in the UK.'
She added: 'The results provide evidence that providing a high quality, sensitive and appropriate model of care to women and their families at a crucial time in their lives can be achieved, without compromising safety and whilst making significant financial savings. This study also shows that expanding midwifery-led care in the UK is a course of action that deserves further merit and that policy-makers and the Government need to investigate this further.'
The conference’s guest of honour was HRH The Princess Royal, RCM Patron, who discussed the UK model of midwifery across the Commonwealth. The conference reviewed the impact of midwifery-led care on maternal and newborn health; evaluated evidence-based care and its impact; and sought to understand the impact of national and global partnerships in improving midwifery skills and maternal and newborn care.
RCM Director of Learning and Practice Development Frances Day-Stirk, who is also Vice President of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), said: 'Globally, we know that there is a shortage of midwives, and there is little doubt of the impact that this is having on mothers, babies and their families and communities all over the world. The tens of thousands of women and millions of babies who die every year from childbirth-related causes are evidence of this.'
'Midwives are the key to achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5 on child and maternal mortality. A country is judged by the way it cares for and treats its women, and by the maternal and child health services it provides for them. World leaders need to commit investment to recruit, educate and retain midwives as a priority. It is unacceptable that women and their babies continue to die in childbirth in the 21st Century because of a lack of access to midwives and other midwifery-skilled health workers. The decline in the rate of pregnancy-related deaths is not enough and we are not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal target for 2015.'
Globally, there are approximately 1,000 maternal deaths per day caused by easily preventable conditions, including severe bleeding after childbirth, infections, hypertensive disorders and unsafe abortion.
Notes to editors
King's College London
King's College London is one of the top 25 universities in the world (2010 QS international world rankings), The Sunday Times 'University of the Year 2010/11' and the fourth oldest in England. A research-led university based in the heart of London, King's has nearly 23,500 students (of whom more than 9,000 are graduate students) from nearly 140 countries, and some 6,000 employees. King's is in the second phase of a £1 billion redevelopment programme which is transforming its estate.
King's has an outstanding reputation for providing world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise for British universities, 23 departments were ranked in the top quartile of British universities; over half of our academic staff work in departments that are in the top 10 per cent in the UK in their field and can thus be classed as world leading. The College is in the top seven UK universities for research earnings and has an overall annual income of nearly £450 million.
King's has a particularly distinguished reputation in the humanities, law, the sciences (including a wide range of health areas such as psychiatry, medicine, nursing and dentistry) and social sciences including international affairs. It has played a major role in many of the advances that have shaped modern life, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA and research that led to the development of radio, television, mobile phones and radar. It is the largest centre for the education of healthcare professionals in Europe; no university has more Medical Research Council Centres.
King's College London and Guy's and St Thomas', King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts are part of King's Health Partners. King's Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre (AHSC) is a pioneering global collaboration between one of the world's leading research-led universities and three of London's most successful NHS Foundation Trusts, including leading teaching hospitals and comprehensive mental health services. For more information, visit: www.kingshealthpartners.org.
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