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Need to keep working to improve maternity services say midwives on NHS litigation report

Friday, 26th October 2012

Commenting on the publication of the report 'Ten Years of Maternity Claims, An Analysis of NHS Litigation Authority Data' today by the NHS Litigation Authority, Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “The biggest issue behind these claims is that most of the lessons to be learned from them are not new. It is tragic that the same problems reoccur in our maternity services year on year. The big question we all have to ask ourselves is why is it so difficult for well meaning professionals to put learning into practice?’

“In maternity services we have excellent policies and guidelines which inform practice. We also have a strong body of evidence which should guide us into developing the services which are most likely to meet the needs of women and ensure positive outcomes. Far more needs to be done to ensure that maternity service provision reflects this evidence.

“Ensuring our maternity teams have regular education and training is key to ensuring safer care. We know that midwives sometimes struggle to get access to training because of staff shortages and budget cuts. This has got to change and access to training has to be protected.  Training should also be multidisciplinary wherever possible.

“We also need to ensure minimum staffing standards as advocated by the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology are in place across England and Wales. High quality assessment of women, good communication, team working and one-to -one care in labour are key components of safe care. Inevitably all of these suffer if staff are overstretched.”

For further information please contact the RCM Press Office on 020 7312 3456, pressofficer@rcm.org.uk


Notes to editors

The Royal College of Midwives is the voice of midwifery. We are the UK’s only trade union and professional organisation led by midwives for midwives. The vast majority of the midwifery profession are our members. The RCM promotes midwifery, quality maternity services and professional standards. We support and represent our members individually and collectively in all four UK countries.  We influence on behalf of our members and for the interests of the women and families for which they care. 

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