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Supporting the implementation and scaling-up of midwifery units in Europe: how can capacity in the maternity workforce be developed


1st supervisor: Dr Lucia Rocca

2nd supervisor: Prof Christine McCourt

Research centre

Maternal and Child Health Research

Project description

This project will focus on understanding of organisational and workforce factors underpinning the implementation of the evidence on midwifery units.

There is now a convincing and expanding body of evidence indicating that continuity of midwifery care is optimal for healthy women with uncomplicated pregnancies in settings with well-trained midwives and good health systems. This has been translated into policy at the national and global level. However, there are still too few well supported and resourced midwife-led units available internationally, and this limits the opportunity for provision of optimal, consistent, high-quality, safe, cost-effective care for women and their babies.

In 2018 the Midwifery Unit Network and City, University of London produced and published the Midwifery Unit Standards to provide a guide on the philosophy and organisation of care in midwifery units throughout Europe. The document has been endorsed by the European Midwives association and is currently in the process of being translated into Spanish, Italian and Czech to support the implementation of these realities across Europe.

There is now a need to understand how the Standards can be used in the different local contexts to develop high-quality midwife led care settings.

The student will propose the research design and methods and will focus on understanding and responding to barriers and facilitators to implementation. A theoretically informed approach will be needed to underpin wider national and international application of the lessons from this work.

We invite high quality candidates to propose a study that will address one of the following aspects of this programme of work:

  1. Organisational and cultural readiness for implementation of midwifery units
  2. Multidisciplinary team skills, confidence and readiness to work within and in relation to midwifery units

If you would like to have an informal discussion please contact Lucia.Rocca-Ihenacho@city.ac.uk.