Promise of one to one midwife care as Labour returns to NHS

VAT fraudsters Laurel Howarth and Richard Williams
VAT fraudsters Laurel Howarth and Richard Williams
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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.

Richard William, with his reclipa U-boat at Thwait Mills Museum

Richard William, with his reclipa U-boat at Thwait Mills Museum

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.

Ed Miliband

Ed Miliband

“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.