The leader of an independent review into NHS maternity services has praised the care delivered to women and their babies at the Royal Free London.

Baroness Julia Cumberlege, led a team of experts which considered how services should be developed to meet the changing needs of women and babies. The Better Births review was published in February 2016.

During a visit to the Royal Free Hospital, Baroness Cumberlege said the RFL was ‘on the verge of delivering something really different’ for women and their families.

“You are going to make the experience of giving birth something really different in the future, much more personalised, kinder, family friendly and professional,” she said.

The NHS England commissioned review set out wide-ranging proposals designed to make care safer and give women greater control and more choice.

It focused on more personalised care; the importance of continuity of carer; better postnatal and perinatal mental health care; safer care and better working across different hospital specialties. 

Baroness Cumberlege added: “You [the Royal Free London] are an early adopter of the recommendations in the maternity review. You are fleet of foot and showing the way – we are going to learn a lot from what you are doing here.” Baroness Cumberlege commended the team on what they had achieved to date.

Mai Buckley, divisional director of midwifery and nursing, said: “We are incredibly proud of the maternity service we provide at the Royal Free London and women and their families tell us we’re doing a good job.

“But there are always improvements to be made and that’s why we have worked hard to implement as many of the recommendations as possible from the Better Births review. We are delighted Baroness Cumberlege recognised the progress we have made and we will continue to work hard for our women and their babies.”

During her visit, Baroness Cumberlege honoured the team by cutting the ribbon to mark the Royal Free London’s achievement of the UNICEF Baby Friendly award. This means that mothers, their babies and families can expect quality and excellence in the care and support around infant feeding and the building of strong and loving parent-infant relationships on their journey through pregnancy, parenthood and beyond.

Hero image: Baroness Cumberlege cutting the ribbon to mark the Royal Free London’s achievement of the UNICEF Baby Friendly award.

Second image: Barones Cumberlege with Royal Free London matenity service team.

Notes to editors

About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare.

The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver and kidney transplantation, haemophilia, renal care, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, Parkinson's disease, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.

In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London. Read 'A bigger trust, a better future'.