The Royal College of Midwives has broadly welcomed proposals put forward by the NHS Future Forum to improve nursing services.

The Future Forum's second phase reports raised a number of concerns about nursing services, but the RCM believes recommendations made by the independent advisory panel will go some way to addressing these wider concerns, as well as the fears expressed by midwives.

Commenting on the publication of the NHS Future Forum's second phase reports, Jacque Gerrard, England director of the Royal College of Midwives, said: "The upcoming reform of the NHS has generated a number of concerns among midwives about how it will affect the quality of care in maternity services. If accepted by the Government, a number of the Forum's recommendations will go some way to addressing these concerns.

"In particular the RCM is pleased that the Forum has recommended that health and social care should integrate around the needs of the patient. The suggestion that the NHS should be refocused towards preventing poor health and promoting healthy living, including improving the health of NHS staff is a positive step. Midwives have a vital role to play in promoting and improving public health that is often overlooked. There is also no doubt, as the Forum recommends, that workforce planning and education should be responsive to the changing nature of maternity care.

"To ensure the safest services and so that women and their babies receive high quality care it is crucial that midwives have access to on-going professional development so that their skills are up-to-date. Too often, the pressures of inadequate midwife numbers and the demands on maternity services mean that this does not happen, so the recommendation to support this is very welcome indeed."

The NHS Future Forum was set up last year by the government to examine the NHS.

Posted by Robert Mair on 10/1/12