Since 2010, One to One Midwives (North West) has been commissioned to provide community midwifery care to families in the Cheshire and Mersey region.
“One to One had no choice but to recognise that the company was insolvent”
One to One
Its current NHS contract – which has been in place since 2016 and also permits it to deliver services in North East Essex – was due to expire at the end of March 2020.
However, One to One Midwives gave staff just two days’ notice when announcing that it was taking the “difficult decision” to cease trading and that the owners would place the company into administration on 31 July.
The firm had prided itself on being a continuity of carer champion, pledging to provide families with their own “personal midwife” from pregnancy, birth to the postnatal period.
Announcing its insolvency via Facebook, the company cited an “unsustainable financial structure” between the NHS and private providers as the reason for it going bust.
“For many years, One to One has sought to influence the financial basis of how a community midwife-led service, based on a continuity of carer model, can remain viable and sustainable within a challenging NHS landscape,” it said on the social media site.
“Proposals were presented at a local and national level in an attempt to simplify how independent midwifery providers like One to One, NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups that are required to work collaboratively across geographical boundaries, might be remunerated more efficiently and effectively.
“In the absence of any appetite to support these proposals, and recent confirmation that the proposed new contract will be procured without changes to this unsustainable financial structure, One to One had no further options available and as such has no choice but to recognise that the company was insolvent.”
Local commissioners have launched a re-procurement process to find a new provider to run the services currently delivered by One to One.
“What is imperative now is that midwives working for One to One are supported through this”
A spokesman for Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group said its “priority” was now to ensure women registered with One to One could continue to access the support they needed.
“Women affected are being contacted directly by a dedicated team to make arrangements to transfer their care to an alternative provider,” he added.
A spokeswoman for the Royal College of Midwives said it would be supporting its members at One to One to find new jobs and advising them on their employment rights.
She added that it was “disappointing” that a company aligned with the government’s ambitions to improve continuity of care and carer for new mothers had crumbled.
However, she said the RCM was working to ensure NHS services generally were meeting these goals.
“This will be sad news for the women using the midwifery services of One to One in Cheshire and Essex,” said the spokeswoman.
“Services such as these provide continuity of carer,” she said. “This is the woman seeing the same midwife or small group of midwives throughout her care. This is a key plank of the government’s maternity plans, so it is very disappointing to see a service that provides this type of care cease trading.
“That said, NHS maternity services across the UK have begun to introduce continuity of carer and the RCM is working with our members and the NHS to deliver continuity of carer to women.
“It must be an absolute priority now to ensure that new arrangements are made very quickly for the women using the services of One to One and that the choices open to them are discussed. Everything must be done to ensure the seamless continuation of safe and high-quality maternity care for women and their babies.”
She added: “What is imperative now is that midwives working for One to One are supported through this. The RCM will be supporting and advising any affected RCM members on their employment rights and seeking to ensure all who wish to work in the NHS gain future employment.”