Maternity Support Provided 'Inconsistently'

A CQC Survey Has Revealed Lapses In Care

13.12.2013

A new study into maternity services in the UK has found many people are not happy with the care they are receiving.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) surveyed 23,000 users of maternity services at 137 NHS trusts across the UK and while the results were positive in some aspects, it is clear improvements need to be made.

In 66 per cent of cases it was found that mothers could not see the same midwife over the course of their pregnancy and just under half of these people were annoyed about this and wanted more consistent guidance to be provided.

One woman who responded to the CQC survey was less than pleased with her experience with an NHS maternity ward and stated: "After-care could have been better by seeing the same midwife.

"I was given differing information from the four different midwives I was seen by - very contradictory and confusing. This caused emotional upset to myself and difficulty to the rest of my family. Continuity of care was non-existent."

A further 26 per cent of people argued their midwife did not always take their personal circumstances, including medical history and cultural background, into consideration when they gave advice.

There were also complaints about the poor attitudes and lacking communication in some wards.

Some 84 per cent of respondents that were quizzed about this matter felt it could be improved and one participant was particularly bothered by the alleged rudeness of some midwives.

"I used to dread seeing her ... she is rude, disrespectful and hurtful," the woman said.

But there were some positives outlined in the report and it was shown that there has been an increase in the number of new mothers who believe they have been more involved in decisions surrounding their pregnancy in 2010.

In his statement of intent upon entering 10 Downing Street, David Cameron pledged to make childbirth an NHS priority over the course of his parliament, but some critics argue not enough midwives are being hired.

Expert Opinion
This CQC research has revealed some worrying trends and it is vital that the NHS responds in the right manner by addressing concerns both quickly and thoroughly.

"All patients rightly expect and deserve a consistently high standard of care which puts their safety and welfare first. Sadly, we do see a number of cases when this is not the case and people have suffered significant complications as a result.

"This report needs to be a wake-up call which ensures that the issues identified are simply not repeated in the future."
Lisa Jordan, Partner