‘NMPA report provides opportunity to improve safety and quality of maternity services says RCM’

By RCM on 08 November 2017 RCOG - Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Midwives Obesity NMPA - National Maternity and Perinatal Audit Smoking

A new report published today will enable quality improvement in maternity across the UK.

The National Maternity and Perinatal Audit (NMPA) have published a comprehensive clinical report that identifies areas of good practice in maternity care and provides important data for areas where there are opportunities to improve the maternity care that woman and their babies receive.

Commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) as part of the National Clinical Audit Programme, the NMPA is the largest quality improvement programme for maternity and neonatal services in the world. 

Importantly it is also the first such collaboration between the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).

Commenting on the report Gill Walton, Chief Executive at the RCM says;“The RCM very much welcomes this report and believes that there is much to take away from its findings that will allow not only midwives, but the entire maternity team to improve the care that they are providing to women and their babies.

“The RCM has studied the clinical findings in this report and the level of maternal obesity is most worrying with fewer than half of pregnant women having a body mass index (BMI) that was within normal range. Being obese when pregnant can cause complications for women and their babies. Therefore it is vital that midwives have enough time to give advice and support, as well as access to specialist services that they can refer the woman in a timely manner.

“There is also extremely wide variation in the proportion of women who gave up smoking during pregnancy not only in England, but right across the UK. The levels of those smoking during pregnancy remains high  so it is clear that much  more work needs to be done to support women with smoking cessation. The recording of a women’s smoking status both at the initial booking appointment and at the end of pregnancy does need to improve in order for us to develop a clearer strategy on how best to tackle smoking in pregnancy.

“We know that supporting women to manage their weight and to give up smoking is more effective when the woman and midwife have a close relationship - as occurs where there is continuity of carer.

“This report is without doubt an invaluable resource which we would not have had without the dedicated work of our colleagues on the front line in England, Scotland and Wales’s entering data in maternity records every day. Further recommendations for clinicians contained in this report involve improved electronic record keeping. Therefore it is of upmost importance that midwives have access to adequate technology to enable them to do this in a efficient and safe manner. Systematic record keeping is vital as it impacts on continuity of care and carer and is particularly important for multi-disciplinary maternity teams.

“On place of birth the report shows that although women have a variety of options of where to have their baby, it is disappointing to see that they are not choosing midwife –led settings, despite NICE and The Birthplace Study both recommending this option for low risk and uncomplicated pregnancies.

“The RCM hopes that maternity leaders will look at this audit and share good practice between units, so those with the highest variation can learn from those with the lowest and in turn improve the safety and quality of our maternity services.”




Notes to editors

The RCM is the only trade union and professional association dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources. For more information visit the RCM website at https://www.rcm.org.uk/.

Local and national results will be published on an interactive website on 9 November: www.maternityaudit.org.uk

In August 2017, the NMPA published a report providing a snapshot of the availability of services, facilities and staffing in maternity and neonatal care: http://www.maternityaudit.org.uk/Audit/Charting/Organisational