The best start: five-year plan for maternity and neonatal care

A five-year forward plan for the improvement of maternity and neonatal services in Scotland.

Chapter Three: Our Vision

The future vision of maternity and neonatal services across Scotland is one where:

  • All mothers and babies are offered a truly family-centred, safe and compassionate approach to their care, recognising their own unique circumstances and preferences.
  • Fathers, partners and other family members are actively encouraged and supported to become an integral part of all aspects of maternal and newborn care.
  • Women experience real continuity of care and carer, across the whole maternity journey, with vulnerable families being offered any additional tailored support they may require.
  • Services are redesigned using the best available evidence, to ensure optimal outcomes and sustainability, and maximise the opportunity to support normal birth processes and avoid unnecessary interventions.
  • Staff are empathetic, skilled and well supported to deliver high quality, safe services, every time.
  • Multi-professional team working is the norm within an open and honest team culture, with everyone's contribution being equally valued.

The main underpinning principles of the Review

During the Review process, a number of underlying principles were agreed by the Review group as being fundamental to the future of maternity and neonatal services and these principles were utilised in all Sub-Groups to underpin their work and ensure a common approach:

People at the centre: care is planned jointly with women and families to meet their individual circumstances and needs where possible. Aiming to keep mothers and babies together as much as possible is at the forefront of decision-making.

Working together: women, babies, families and all maternity and neonatal care staff are treated with equal respect, compassion and kindness and services have an understanding of the important impact of relationships on outcomes. Maternity and neonatal teams work cohesively, demonstrating an empowering culture where different views are evident and flourish.

Integrated services: continuity of care and carer is the norm, with care coordinated across different settings including home, community and hospital, and across the spectrum of services in health and social care.

Quality services: services place equal value on relationships, joint decision-making, and safe and effective care. This understanding of quality is recognised across the whole maternity and neonatal environment. Care is provided by confident and competent staff with the requisite skills for their area of expertise, aiming to deliver a person-centred, safe and effective service.

Reducing the impact of inequalities: every woman and baby are supported to access the services they need, whether these are provided locally, regionally or nationally. The needs of women and families who are vulnerable are recognised and proactively and sensitively addressed.

Evidence-based: a broad and comprehensive assessment of high quality evidence is used to plan care and services, taking account of the care continuum and the wider impact of pregnancy and childbirth on long-term outcomes. Ongoing review of the evidence, including feedback from women and families drives continuous quality improvement.

Prudent care: services meet population need and are sustainable over time, offering the best use of resources, through optimising the multidisciplinary team and maximising the use of community and acute assets and resources.

Optimising normal processes: care is based on the best available evidence and services avoid over treatment, using intervention only when clinically indicated. Strengthening women's own capabilities is an important component of care.



Back to top