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Following a number of high-profile failings in the delivery of safe, high-quality care in maternity services, HIQA committed to the development of specific standards for maternity services to drive improvements in quality and safety.
These standards have been designed to support the implementation of the National Maternity Strategy, which was published in January 2016.
The National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services cover pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period (up to six weeks after birth), and apply to all maternity services. These services include, but are not limited to, maternity units, and primary and community care settings.
Ms Marie Kehoe-O’Sullivan, HIQA’s Director of Standards and Quality Improvement, said: “HIQA developed the National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services to make maternity care safer and better, and to ensure that the services delivered meet the needs of the women they are supposed to serve. The launch of maternity standards enables services to ensure that they are meeting the necessary outcomes to safeguard the people using their services and to improve the quality of care they provide.
“These standards are informed by national and international research and best practice, as well as the voices of women, patient advocates and front-line staff who participated in our advisory group, focus groups and public consultation. The standards put women at the centre of what maternity services do. By promoting practice that is up to date, effective and consistent, and based on best available evidence, they provide a framework of good practice for services to strive towards, but also for women to understand what safe, high-quality maternity care looks like and what they should expect from a service.”
The National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services were launched by the Minister for Health Simon Harris at Dublin Castle this morning.
Minister Harris commented: “These standards along with the range of patient safety initiatives taking place in my Department will support better, safer clinical decision-making and a more connected health service, delivering better outcomes for patients.”