(PRWEB UK) 8 December 2011
IMUK, the professional body for independent midwives, reads with interest the mixed reactions to news of a contract between private midwifery provider One to One (Northwest) Ltd and NHS Wirral (BBC - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-16072422). The service offered is one the NHS can rarely deliver: continuity of care from a midwife the woman knows, through pregnancy, birth and postnatally. However, concerns have been expressed about the impact of profit-driven private providers on the NHS.
“IMUK believes that the answer lies in social enterprise midwifery: continuity of care delivered by an organisation run by midwives and service users for the benefit of the local community,” states Annie Francis of IMUK.
“That is why we are establishing a social enterprise, named Neighbourhood Midwives, to offer local, community based midwifery services. Care will be free at the point of access for women but provided by a social enterprise, whose values and culture are firmly rooted in a social mission and purpose. We are well down the path and are ready to provide services from April 2012.
“We are keen to be fully integrated into the whole maternity care pathway, ideally through the planned networks currently being discussed. We will be able to offer care to women planning a homebirth but often unable to access this choice because of current shortages of midwives within the NHS.”
Historically, insurance issues have been a barrier for not-for-profit providers. During recent debates on the Health and Social Care Bill, Baroness Julia Cumberledge emphasised the need for social enterprise organisations such as Neighbourhood Midwives to be able to access insurance via the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA).
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