Expectant mothers in England are due for some extra assistance from the National Health Service (NHS).
An independent review of maternity services concluded that the NHS should offer a "Personal Maternity Care Budget" to pregnant women to cover the costs of medical care and birth. According to The Guardian, the budget would in most cases amount to 3,000 pounds (around 4,200 dollars) -- the cost of "uncomplicated births" to the NHS.
The goal of the personal budget is to give women greater control over the kind of support they receive, be it from an existing NHS care provider or a midwifery practice. In addition to traditional hospital options, NHS-accredited birth services could include home births, midwife-assisted births, water births and postpartum breastfeeding support.
The NHS commissioned the independent review after a 2015 investigation found that failures at one the UK hospital's "dysfunctional" maternity ward contributed to the deaths of at least 16 babies and three mothers.
This new review suggests that the way to avoid future failures and losses is to give women safe care options and more control when it comes to maternal health.
Baroness Julia Cumberlege, who chaired the review, is quoted on the NHS website stating:
"To be among the best in the world, we need to put women, babies and their families at the center of their care. It is so important that they are supported through what can be a wonderful and life-changing experience. Women have told us they want to be given genuine choices and have the same person looking after them throughout their care. We must ensure that all care is as safe as the best and we need to break down boundaries and work together to reduce the variation in the quality of services and provide a good experience for all women."
Three cheers for safe healthcare for expectant mamas.
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