A NEW scheme offering care for mums-to-be in Wirral has been given the seal of approval by a health watchdog.

One to One midwives, which officially launched last year, has been approved by the Care Quality Commission following an unannounced inspection.

NHS Wirral became the first trust in the country to pay a private company to provide maternity care when it signed a three-year deal last December with One to One following a pilot scheme to provide services to women in the borough.

The deal attracted some criticism and raised concern about the prospect of “privatising” NHS services and threatening midwives’ jobs.

The leader of the Wirral Council at the time, Cllr Steve Foulkes, had said he suspected it was “privatisation of the NHS by the back door” and said he was worried that it would lead to more private companies becoming involved in running public services.

However the CQC, which is responsible for checking standards at hospitals, care homes and maternity services, has now reported that One to One is meeting required levels of care and safety.

According to the report, the inspection was carried out amid concerns that mums-to-be were not being provided with a “safe and quality service” but it was found that the women were given “meaningful information” prior to and following accepting the service.

Inspectors discovered detailed assessments of pregnant women’s medical and social histories which were then used to create a “birth plan” for them.

The report also highlighted that women said they felt “listened to and valued,” while there were “effective systems” in place to ensure the safety of services.

Joanne Parkington, clinical director for One to One midwives in Wirral, said: “This is excellent news for the Wirral community. It is also a big boost for One to One midwives who have worked so hard to achieve these high standards set by the CQC.”

Although the Royal College of Midwives was initially worried about the prospect of One-to-One leading to NHS job losses, it has now welcomed the successful report.

Jacque Gerrard, RCM director for England, said: “We welcome the CQC inspection report and we are pleased that One to One are meeting all seven standards reviewed by the commission. We have worked closely with One to One and our members have gained formal trade union recognition there.

“The RCM congratulates One to One on achieving all of the seven standards and meeting the expectations. The One to One midwives are providing a good local service for mothers and babies in the Wirral area and they are providing real choice and options for women whilst providing safe high quality maternity care.

“We look forward to continuing to work with One to One now and in the long-term.”