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Patient experiences of maternity care in England 'deteriorating'

Fewer women who gave birth in NHS maternity services last year had a positive experience of care compared to 5 years ago, according to a major new survey. The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) latest national maternity survey report reveals what almost 21,000 women who gave birth in February 2022 felt about the care they received while pregnant, during labour and delivery, and once at home in the weeks following the arrival of their baby.

The findings show that while experiences of maternity care at a national level were positive overall for the majority of women, they have deteriorated in the last 5 years. In particular, there was a notable decline in the number of women able to get help from staff when they needed it.

Many of the key findings from the survey include a drop in positive interactions with staff and lack of choices about the birth. Just over two-thirds of those surveyed (69%) reported 'definitely' having confidence and trust in the staff delivering their antenatal care. Results were higher for staff involved in labour and birth (78%). In addition, while the majority of women (86%) surveyed in 2022 said they were 'always' spoken to in a way they could understand during labour and birth, this was a decline from 90% who said this in 2019. The proportion of respondents who felt that they were 'always' treated with kindness and understanding while in hospital after the birth of their baby remained relatively high at 71%, however had fallen from 74% in 2017.

Just under a fifth of women who responded to the survey (19%) said they were not offered any choices about where to have their baby. Also, less than half (41%) of those surveyed said their partner or someone else close to them was able to stay with them as much as they wanted during their stay in hospital.

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Source: Medscape, 13 January 2023


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