The National Maternity Review report, ‘Better Births - Improving outcomes of maternity services in England, A Five Year Forward View for maternity care’ reviewed maternity services across the country including in rural and isolated areas.
In the 2016/17 clinical commissioning group allocations, NHS England made a change to the allocation funding formulae for remoteness. In part, this funding recognises that services in remote areas, including maternity services, have unavoidably higher costs because the level of activity is too low for services to operate. Further, we know that the challenges faced by services in remote areas are broader than funding which is why we committed in the NHS Long Term Plan to develop new operating models for rural hospitals, as well as to reduce geographical and specialty imbalances in medical posts. As part of this, NHS England and NHS Improvement is working with 35 smaller acute hospitals and local systems leaders to identify and accelerate the spread of new delivery models through peer learning and in partnership with national stakeholders, including the Care Quality Commission and Royal Colleges.