In this article, Claire Brader summarises the recent findings on the performance of NHS maternity services in England, as well as recent government and NHS policies aimed at improving the quality of maternity care.
This article is divided into four main sections:
1. How are maternity services in England performing? A summary of recent findings across four key themes of maternity care: maternity experiences, the quality of safety of maternity care, maternal mortality and ethnic inequalities.
2. What problems have recent independent investigations into maternity services found? Considering findings from the East Kent inquiry and the ongoing independent review of maternity services at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.
3. What recent policies have been introduced to address these problems? Looking at the NHS three-year delivery plan for maternity and neonatal services, Women’s health strategy for England and the NHS long term plan.
4. What have representative organisations and campaign groups said? Reflections on these issues from the UK pregnancy and baby loss charities Sands and Tommy’s Policy Unit, the Royal College of Midwives, the Maternity Safety Alliance and Mumsnet.