Survey shows increase in positive experiences during maternity care
New mothers are having a positive experience of maternity care and treatment within the NHS, according to a new survey.
The Care Quality Commission quizzed more than 18,000 people in England who had given birth in February last year.
Women were asked questions about all aspects of their maternity care, from the first time they saw a clinician or midwife, during labour and birth, through to the care provided at home in the weeks following the arrival of their baby.
The results show that across the country, women were generally more positive about their experiences at every stage of their care, with most responses having improved or stayed the same since the survey was last carried out in 2015.
The survey showed that 88 per cent of women said they were always treated with dignity and respect during labour and birth, 77 per cent were never left alone during the birth of their baby at a time when it worried them, and 98 per cent said that their midwife or health visitor asked them how they were feeling emotionally during their postnatal care.
Professor Ted Baker, CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “This year’s survey shows some very positive results about the quality of maternity care being provided in the NHS.
“This is a testament to efforts and dedication of staff working hard to provide care for pregnant women and new mothers across the country.
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“The survey identifies a number of encouraging data trends, showing improvements in women’s experiences throughout pregnancy, during birth and postnatally, and it indicates a greater focus on women’s individual needs and choices.”
“However, the scope for continued improvement remains, particularly in relation to women’s choices about their antenatal care and ensuring enough information is available to support women through any emotional changes they might experience after giving birth.”
He added: “Our own inspection work of maternity services so far shows that the majority of trusts are providing high quality care, with over 60 per cent of hospitals rated as either Good or Outstanding for maternity. However, this also highlights that further work is needed to narrow the variation that we know exists.
“I hope that NHS trusts will reflect on their individual results to understand what women using their maternity services really think about the care and treatment they provide. This will help them to identify where they need to make changes to drive improvements in the quality of care for the benefit of all women and their families.”
The full results for England, as well as individual results for each trust, are available on the CQC’s website at www.cqc.org.uk/maternitysurvey