Quality standard

Quality statement 2: Services – continuity of care

Quality statement

Pregnant women are cared for by a named midwife throughout their pregnancy.

Quality measures

The following measures can be used to assess the quality of care or service provision specified in the statement. They are examples of how the statement can be measured, and can be adapted and used flexibly.

Structure

a) Evidence of local arrangements and audit to ensure that pregnant women are cared for by a named midwife throughout their pregnancy.

Data source: Local data collection.

b) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that systems are in place to coordinate a pregnant woman's care should her named midwife not be available.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

Proportion of pregnant women with a named midwife.

Numerator – the number in the denominator with a named midwife.

Denominator – the number of pregnant women accessing antenatal care.

Data source: Local data collection.

Outcome

Pregnant women's satisfaction with the continuity of their antenatal care.

Data source: Local data collection. The Care Quality Commission Maternity Services Survey asks the question 'At your antenatal check-ups, did you see the same midwife every time?'

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers ensure that systems are in place to enable pregnant women to be cared for by a named midwife throughout their pregnancy.

Healthcare professionals follow local systems and guidance to provide continuity of care to pregnant women through the provision of a named midwife.

Commissioners ensure they commission services that enable pregnant women to be cared for by a named midwife throughout their pregnancy.

Pregnant women are cared for a by a named midwife throughout their pregnancy.

Source guidance

Antenatal care. NICE guideline NG201 (2021), recommendation 1.1.12

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Named midwife

Having continuity of carer means that a trusting relationship can be developed between the woman and the healthcare professional who cares for her. The Better Births report by the National Maternity Review defines continuity of carer as consistency in the midwifery team (between 4 and 8 individuals) that provides care for the woman and her baby throughout pregnancy, labour and the postnatal period. A named midwife coordinates the care and takes responsibility for ensuring that the needs of the woman and her baby are met throughout the antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal periods.

[NICE's guideline on antenatal care, terms used in this guideline]