Neighbourhood Midwives in Waltham Forest
a positive birth experience
Neighbourhood Midwives is the brainchild of a small group of midwives working independently who were keen to explore the idea of providing our relationship-based model of care within the NHS. As well as a potential solution to the lack of indemnity insurance, it was also seen as a way to increase the limited range of choices available for women and midwives in the bureaucratic and hierarchical rigidity of the wider system. They were encouraged by the 2008 Darzi review (high quality care for all NHS next stage review) which embraced the concept of social enterprise and the opportunities it provides for clinical leaders to deliver innovation to the NHS for the benefit of service users.
Neighbourhood Midwives describe themselves as an aspiring Teal organisation (Reinventing Organisations) using similar principles to the well known Buurtzorgmodel in Holland. Their passion is to create a safe, supportive and nurturing environment that facilitates their midwives own choice of working practices as well as clinical and personal development.
Neighbourhood Midwives’ vision is for every woman to have the choice of a positive birth experience, supported by a midwife she knows and trusts.
Annie Francis is midwife and CEO Neighbourhood Midwives.
Annie qualified as a midwife in 1998, after the birth of her four children, and then worked as a self employed, independent midwife providing continuity of care to women and their families for over fifteen years.
Annie still carries a small caseload herself and speaks regularly at midwifery conferences and workshops about the challenges and rewards of this way of working. She was a member of NHS England’s national maternity review team which published their recommendations in the Better Births report in February 2016. Annie was then invited to be a member of the current Maternity Transformation Programme (MTP) Stakeholder Council which oversees the implementation of Better Births.