The Royal College of Midwives have praised the government's pledge to invest £140 million in birthing technology but said it will only be "genuinely effectively" if it reaches frontline services.

Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday [8 Oct] set out plans for a multi-million pound investment so that NHS nurses and midwives can spend more time with patients and provide safer care.

"We need to focus relentlessly on improving the care people get, and we're taking some big, practical steps to achieve that," said Mr Cameron.

"Too often nurses have been met with a barrage of bureaucracy. We're introducing one of the most simple tests that any caring organisation can have - it's called the Friends and Family test, and the results show in a very human way how a hospital is performing: not just how their budget's looking; but how people feel about being there."

Following recent calls from the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Physicians for a return to a 'patient first' focus, the Department of Health has created a scheme which will reward those hospitals which are well regarded by its users.

The NHS will be loaned cash from a £100m fund to buy new technologies such as digital pens & mobile devices that allow nurses and midwives to know the latest information about a patient's treatment.

But those organisations that receive positive feedback from patients in the Friends and Family Test will not have to repay any of their loans.

Louise Silverton, director for midwifery for the Royal College of Midwives, hopes that such funding does ultimately support those on the frontline.

She said: "We welcome any money if it genuinely reaches frontline midwives and which would enhance their skills, services and professional development and improve the quality of maternity care for mothers and babies."

An additional £40 million will be made available for extra leadership training to skill up the next generation of nursing and midwifery leaders with up to 1,000 nurses and midwives set to receive training and support this year, rising to 10,000 over the next two years.

Posted 09/10/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com