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Health Minister reaffirms commitment to high quality and accessible maternity services for Northern Ireland

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has today reaffirmed his commitment to delivering the highest quality, cost effective and accessible maternity services for women in Northern Ireland.

The Minister was speaking as he launched a new guidance document for midwifery services in Northern Ireland at the 16th Annual Joint Conference of Royal College of Midwives and the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation.

The guidance, Midwifery 2020 Delivering Expectations, aims to improve the experience of women during their maternity care, to meet the health and social care needs of a rapidly changing population and improve outcomes for mothers, babies and families.

Mr McGimpsey said: “I hold midwives in the highest regard, for they are uniquely placed to make an actual difference to the lives of women and children, and their families.

“That is why I want to ensure we have high quality maternity services, good antenatal and postnatal care, and effective parenting programmes, to secure the very best we can for our children and grandchildren.

“Midwifery 2020 sets out a vision for the contribution that midwives will make in delivering high quality, cost effective and accessible services, working in partnership with obstetricians, GPs and health visitors.”

Delivering Expectations is part of a four-country project about the future provision of midwifery services across the UK. Its key messages provide a framework against which all those involved in maternity services in the UK can benchmark their current services and enable them to develop appropriate quality care and services for the future.

Northern Ireland is the first of the four countries to launch the document regionally.

Notes to editors:

1. The Midwifery 2020 programme brought together a wide range of stakeholders in maternity services – including midwives, other health professionals and women who use services – to consider and debate evidence and information about midwifery and maternity services.

2. The report distils their expertise into key messages and sets out the vision for midwifery across the UK. It aims to ensure that midwives, as lead maternity care professionals, can build on their professional heritage and develop their education, innovations, skills and attributes to meet the challenges and opportunities of maternity care in the 21st century.

3. The key messages of Delivering Expectations will be taken into consideration as part of the Northern Ireland maternity review.

4. The Annual Conference of the Royal College of Midwives and the Irish Nurses and Midwives organisation brings together midwives from both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to enhance joint learning and sharing of best practice.

5. It is held alternately in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and the theme of this year’s conference is “Public Health – An Issue for Women and Midwives in Ireland”.

6. Media enquiries to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 2841. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Office via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.