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By the AIMS Campaign Team
AIMS has long campaigned for a shift in emphasis in the maternity services to one that offers truly woman-centred care, anchored around the key midwife-woman partnership. AIMS believes that maternity care founded on that mutually respectful and trusting one-to-one relationship is crucial to achieving our shared goals of effective and safe maternity care. Forming a relationship with a primary carer creates a secure basis for care even when birth becomes complicated and demands a multi-professional approach.
Whilst AIMS is therefore delighted that the Better Births recommendations around continuity of carer form a key part of the national Maternity Transformation Programme, the AIMS Campaign Team is also clear that there is no room for complacency. Rather, there is a continuing need for local birth activists to work to ensure that this transformation is delivered across the country. The local implementation phase of this campaign is crucial. If we fail at this stage, we may have to campaign for another generation for this opportunity.
Thus AIMS is calling on local campaigners to take action to secure this promise of continuity of carer for women and families in their local areas. Each area will be different in terms of how this model can best be matched to local needs. And every area will be different too in how we best engage in this work: campaigners will need to be creative in terms of how they campaign, taking into account what’s already happening locally. In some areas, it might be most effective to work with an existing Maternity Voices Partnership, for example: maybe you could offer to sit on the partnership as the ‘continuity of carer’ champion? In other areas, it might be worth talking directly to the leaders of your local maternity system, to understand how implementation is being facilitated at that level.
Priorities for action
1. Find out what’s going on, and then get involved in the development and scrutiny of your local plans for implementing continuity of carer. Are these plans realistic? Are they sustainable?
2. Scrutinising local maternity services decisions: are they designing-in continuity of carer for the future, or making it less likely?
How can we help you?
The AIMS Campaign Team is here to support local activists every step of the way with this campaign, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via email at email@example.com if you have any questions or would like some advice.
As part of this work, the AIMS campaign team would also like to build up a picture of how continuity of carer is being planned and implemented across England, or at least what it feels like from an activist perspective. This will really help us as we continue with our national campaigning work and as we collaborate with parallel campaign efforts being led by other groups and individuals. So please get connected with us if you are working on this issue in your own local area, so that we can all keep in touch.
You can also help us by sharing information such as tips about what campaigning strategies are working well in your area and what doesn’t work so well. And tell us what support you would find helpful. We look forward to hearing from you, and we look forward to us all supporting each other on this key issue.3
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