CQC maternity survey shows positive results
The CQC’s national maternity survey 2017 has highlighted overall positive feedback of women who experienced maternity care in 2017.
Improvements were found in areas such as choice of where to give birth, quality of information and access to help and support after giving birth.
The survey of 18,426 women in England 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
It is the fifth survey of its kind that the CQC has carried out in order in help NHS trusts understand what women’s experiences of their maternity care are and how to make improvements.
The responses to survey show a number of notable trends with the proportion of women who said they were offered the choice of giving birth in a midwife-led unit or birth centre having increased by 7% since 2013 (35% in 2013; 41% in 2015; rising to 42% in 2017).
More than a third of women (38%) reported that they saw the same midwife at every antenatal appointment: a 4% increase since 2013.
While 88% of women surveyed said that they were ‘always’ treated with dignity and respect during labour and birth compared to 86% who said this in 2015 (85% in 2013).
The majority of women (77%) reported that they were never left alone during the birth of their baby at a time when it worried them, compared to 74% in 2015.
And 98% of women said their midwife or health visitor asked them how they were feeling emotionally during their postnatal care.
RCM head of quality and standards Mandy Forrester said: ‘The RCM very much welcomes these survey results, which are quite positive and suggest that women in England are experiencing better care during pregnancy and birth.
‘We are pleased to see improvements in the quality of information and access to help and support after giving birth being given to women and it’s also really encouraging to see that the proportion of women who said they were offered the choice of giving birth in a midwife-led unit or birth centre has increased since 2015.
‘Continuity of care and carer has also improved slightly. The findings show a small increase in the number of women who said they saw the same midwife at every antenatal appointment and this is something the RCM believes that every woman deserves. We know that continuity of carer enhances women’s experience, supports safe quality care and makes effective use of scare midwifery resources, so we must do all we can to make this a reality sooner rather than later.
‘It is also very positive to see women reporting that their midwife or health visitor asked them how they were feeling emotionally during their postnatal care. Postnatal care in our maternity services is often underfunded and under staffed. For women the postnatal period can often be a very difficult time and this is when the highest level of care and support is need most for some women. It can also be an extremely exhausting and worrying time particularly for first-time mothers.
‘Overall the results indicate improvements in areas of maternity care since 2015, but there is still much more that can be done to ensure women are experiencing the best possible care and treatment during their pregnancy. In England we remain 3500 midwives short of the number needed to deliver safe, high-quality care and more investment in our maternity services is needed to help us achieve the best outcomes for both mother and baby.’
The full results for England, as well as individual results for each trust, are available on the CQC’s website here.