This week saw publication of a new CMMPH paper in BMC Health Services Research. This methodological paper ‘Assessing the performance of maternity care in Europe: a critical exploration of tools and indicators‘ is a collaboration between several European maternity-care researchers based in Spain (Ramón Escuriet, Fatima Leon-Larios), Belgium (Katrien Beeckman), Northern Ireland (Marlene Sinclair), the UK (Lucy Firth, Edwin van Teijlingen), Switzerland ( Christine Loytved, Ans Luyben) and Portugal (Joanna White). Dr. Ans Luyben is also Visiting Faculty in the Faculty of Health & Social Sciences at Bournemouth University. The underlying work was supported by the European Union through a COST Action called Childbirth Cultures, Concerns, and Consequences headed by Prof. Soo Downe at the University of Central Lancashire. COST is seen by the EU as an important tool in building and supporting the European Research Area (ERA).
This paper critically reviews published tools and indicators currently used to measure maternity care performance within Europe, focusing particularly on whether and how current approaches enable systematic appraisal of processes of minimal (or non-) intervention in support of physiological or “normal birth”.
The authors conclude: “The review identified an emphasis on technical aspects of maternity, particularly intrapartum care in Europe, rather than a consideration of the systematic or comprehensive measurement of care processes contributing to non-intervention and physiological (normal) birth. It was also found that the links between care processes and outcomes related to a normal mode of birth are not being measured.”
Professor Edwin van Teijlingen