HC Deb 09 July 2003 vol 408 cc863-4W
Dr. Evan Harris

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of midwife units were not able to provide one-to-one midwifery care to all women in labour in each year since 1990. [123476]

Dr. Ladyman

The information requested is not collected centrally. The recent information on one-to-one care which we are aware of was collected by the English National Board (ENB) and published in its Midwifery Practice Audit in 2000–2001. The ENB audit said that 78 per cent. of maternity units always provided one-to-one midwifery support to all women in established labour. However, the audit does not distinguish between midwife-led units and obstetric-led units.

The Department of Health sees one to one care for all women as the gold standard. We will be working through the maternity module of the children's national service framework, which we are currently developing, to see how this can be achieved.