A promise of one-to-one midwife care will form of key part of Labour’s health manifesto.
Ed Miliband will today offer personalised one-to-one care from a midwife for every woman during labour and childbirth as part of a new NHS guarantee.
The plan is part of Labour’s commitment to provide 3,000 new midwives, through the £2.5bn Time to Care Fund.
The party said one-to-one care means that a woman in established labour receives care from a designated midwife for the whole of that labour.
The one-to-one care will cover the labour, the birth and the period immediately after giving birth.
Announcing the move, Mr Miliband will today say: “When our two sons were born we received brilliant care from NHS midwives. I know how important this is for mothers, for babies – and for fathers too – at this special but nerve-wracking time for families.
“But too often staff shortages in the NHS means nurses, doctors and midwives feel they don’t have the time to offer the care that they want - and families need.
“Call the midwife’ shouldn’t just be a TV programme from the past but part of our NHS future too. We need to ensure the NHS can offer every woman the personalised one-to-one care we expect from a modern and thriving health service.
“Our fully-funded plan will provide the extra staff including midwives needed to give them the time to care. Because it is time to care for our NHS.”
In 2013 a National Audit Office report into maternity services in England concluded that there was a shortage of midwives.
Currently, one in four women report being left alone and worried during labour or birth, a problem Labour says has got worse since 2010, and more than one-in-five maternity units are not providing one-to-one care.