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Welfare Reform on the Web (January 2006): National Health Service - primary and community care

Maternity services in SureStart Local Programmes

Z. Kurtz and J. McLeish
SureStart, 2005

SureStart Local Programmes (SSLP) have improved access to maternity services by delivering them in new places and ways.  They have also created special services to meet the needs of vulnerable groups.  The extra investment SureStart has made in maternity services has enabled staff to spend more time with women, especially those who need the most support.  Delivering maternity services on a neighbourhood basis has increased the ability of practitioners to build relationships with individuals and communities and to create services that support families.  Clear referral links have been made between maternity services in SSLP areas and other SureStart services, and also with mainstream services.  This has improved women’s access to a range of help and support, particularly for marginalised families.  Team working between midwives and health visitors, especially when they are working from the same building, assists the smooth handover of women between antenatal and postnatal services.  Co-location of maternity practitioners with other health and social care staff has enabled effective multi-disciplinary working.  However, shortages of midwives and health visitors have created tensions between SSLPs and mainstream agencies where there has been competition for staff.  These shortages will affect the sustainability of enhanced maternity services however much they are valued.  Many SSLPs recognise that they have not reached some of the most vulnerable families, and this is connected with an unwillingness on the part of mainstream services to share information about pregnant women.

Pupils to get nicotine patches

M. Wainright
Guardian, December 21st 2005, p.8

Twelve- to seventeen-year-olds in Durham schools are to receive smoking cessation treatment following a successful pilot.

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