What we are doing - maternity

Quality and standardisation of care

We’re aiming to standardise the journey for women with complex medical or social needs. This will help to ensure a good experience for women, no matter their background or medical history.

On labour wards, we aim to increase the number of hours that a consultant obstetrician is present, which will bring services into line with the London Quality Standards – a set of important safety and quality standards set by clinicians and patient representatives. This will make services safer.

Reducing clinical variation

Increasing the number of women who deliver their babies at home, in a midwife-led birthing unit or birth centre with midwife present, is also a key priority for us. Evidence shows that women who plan to have a midwife-led birth experience fewer interventions during labour, which contributes to a faster recovery following birth.

We also aim to reduce the number of women delivering by caesarean section, and reduce the length of time women have to stay in hospital.

Standardising information for women and their families

Women and their families often receive different information about pregnancy and childbirth depending on the where they go – sometimes this can be confusing and affects their experience.

We aim for women to feel fully prepared before and after the birth of their baby, and an important part of this is keeping them well informed and making sure everyone receives the same standard of information. This will allow more informed choices of care and place of birth.

Perinatal mental health

Nationally, one in five mothers suffers from mental health problems during pregnancy or in the first year after childbirth. Yet fewer than 15% of areas have the necessary perinatal mental health services and more than 40% provide none at all.

In south east London we want all women to have access to perinatal mental health services. This is already underway in Lambeth, Southwark & Lewisham after funding was secured to expand specialist perinatal services. More staff are being recruited in 2017/18 and the service will be evaluated 2018/19.

Read more about how we are improving mental health services in south east London