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Introduction

Postnatal care has traditionally been provided to all women by midwives, public health nurses and general practitioners. However, there are two key drivers for change. Firstly, there is a need to maximise the health gain for women and children. Mothers need support and information in the early postnatal period to develop confidence in parenting skills and to establish infant feeding. It is therefore important to plan the midwifery workforce so that it provides the most appropriate skill mix to achieve this. At the same time, UK health organisations are facing reductions in budget allocation and are being challenged to improve efficiency without adversely affecting the quality of health care.

Pressure from these two areas has resulted in an urgent need to undertake full-scale improvement of postnatal care to ensure that high quality care is provided in a way which maximises the efficiency of service delivery.

The PRAM project is developing an Excel-based software tool to aid in the redesign of postnatal care services. This will be linked to a knowledge base of best practice in postnatal care, supporting a whole systems approach to service improvement in partnership with maternity services stakeholders. This will facilitate both the implementation of a new model of postnatal care and its long-term sustainability. These pages give an outline of the PRAM project and the research methods used to inform the study.

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