On 19 October 2022, the long-awaited findings of Dr Bill Kirkup’s independent investigation into maternity services at East Kent were published. This blog outlines the response of the charity Birthrights to the investigation. It focuses on how breaches of mothers' human rights contributed to negative experiences of care and affected outcomes. Lack of informed consent, the use of disrespectful and discriminatory language and a failure to listen to mothers' concerns all contributed to many cases of avoidable harm. It argues that there is a desperate need for proper funding and real commitment to improving staff recruitment and retention, coupled with a culture shift in maternity care that embeds human rights at the centre of care.
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