The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has welcomed yesterday's announcement by the NHS Commissioning Board Authority on the establishment of a strategic clinical network for maternity and children's services - one of four national networks that will be hosted and funded by the Commissioning Board.

Commenting on the announcement, RCM chief executive Professor Cathy Warwick said: "This is potentially very good news for women and families and for midwifery services. The RCM believes that these strategic clinical networks will play a key role in driving up the quality and standard of services. The RCM hopes that in our changing NHS they will help to ensure the coordinated delivery of care during a woman's pregnancy and beyond.

"The announcement is particularly important because it asserts that improvements to maternity services are best achieved through an integrated, whole system approach. The proposed maternity and children's networks recognise that high quality maternity services are the starting point for positive outcomes for both women and children.

"The challenge will now be to work with the NHS Commissioning Board to set up and develop these networks in a way which ensures they can make a very significant contribution to the experience of women and their families."

Posted by Penny Hosie