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According to a recent survey, women who gave birth in recent years are experiencing a decline in the care they receive from maternity services.
The survey has been carried out regularly since 2007 as part of the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) NHS patient survey programme. It collects data about the quality of maternity care that women and other pregnant people receive before, during and after birth.
The 2022 CQC maternity survey was based on the responses of around 20,000 people. It was the first time that the CQC looked at trends from the last 5 years to understand how experiences of care have changed.
The data shows a significant decline in positive responses in most of the questions asked in the survey (21 out of the 26 questions). It found a “concerning decline” in getting help when most needed during labour and childbirth.
This supports similar findings from the CQC published in September 2022, where 7% of the 137 maternity units in England were assessed as posing a high risk of avoidable harm and a further 48% as requiring improvement.
The survey also found that:
Despite the concerns raised by the survey, analysis also revealed several recent improvements. Since 2017, there has been a positive upward trend of women who have recently given birth reporting that there was no delay with their discharge from hospital, from 55% to 62% in 2022.
Over three quarters (78%) of those surveyed also said they had confidence in healthcare staff involved during their labour and baby’s birth.
In addition, support for mental health during pregnancy is reported as improving, although the CQC says there is room for further growth.
Hannah Carr is a specialist women’s health solicitor. She says:
“It’s clear from the CQC maternity survey that there is lots of room for improvements in maternity services.
“It is absolutely vital that pregnant women’s concerns are taken more seriously during labour. They need more advice and support at the start of and throughout their labour, and they need to be properly advised about their care while in the hospital.
“While there are good maternity units, on the whole, maternity services are categorically falling short of women’s expectations.
“We need to listen to those who use and work in maternity services to understand what makes a good labour and birth experience and agree on what needs to be improved.”
If you or a loved one has experienced negligent maternity care, you might be eligible for compensation. Our team of expert, compassionate medical negligence solicitors will listen to you, and support you on a ‘No Win, No Fee’ basis.
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