Released on: 13 May 2024

Responding to the APPG on Birth Trauma report, Angela McConville, Chief Executive at NCT, said:  

“Recounting birth trauma can be deeply distressing, and I want to acknowledge the honesty and bravery of those who shared their harrowing experiences, as crucial evidence to this important Inquiry. At NCT, we welcome the establishment of the APPG on Birth Trauma, and we commend the work done by Theo Clarke MP, Rosie Duffield MP and others to highlight this issue in parliament and in society. The thousands of painful stories shared with the Birth Trauma Inquiry echo what we hear every day in our work with pregnant women and new parents, and absolutely merit the urgent, cross-party approach advocated in today’s report. 

“Whilst the report marks a step forward in addressing the slow progress around birth-related trauma, unfortunately, the findings are not unfamiliar. For over 10 years, NCT has called for personalised care and listening to women, investment in recruitment and retention of midwives, strong and compassionate leadership and better training to deliver culturally competent care. We have consistently campaigned for improved postnatal care, from birth to six weeks and beyond, that prioritises the mother’s physical and mental wellbeing, as well as the baby’s health and development. 

"Despite the strong recommendations from major maternity reports in recent years including those from Shrewsbury and Telford and East Kent NHS Trusts, we hear the same issues being repeatedly identified, including women not being listened to, delays in receiving care, poor communication, the absence of compassion and cultural competence, and the lack of continuity of care.  Now is the time for leadership and action to implement systemic change so that all women and their babies receive the personalised, equitable and safe care they deserve. 

"We know Black and Asian women and those facing deprivation and multiple disadvantages are disproportionately affected, and that a lack of trust in caregivers can contribute to poor birth experiences. Whilst the report mentions the need for more interpreters, we believe it could have gone further in amplifying the importance of culturally competent care through better workforce training, organisation culture and strong leadership.  

“We welcome an integrated maternity strategy led by a new maternity commissioner. We also welcome equitable access to antenatal education through NHS Trusts, so that all women are listened to, informed about their risks and options, and supported to make informed decisions during pregnancy and birth. We welcome the opportunity to work with government, NHS Trusts, charity partners and others to make this vision a reality. We believe that high quality antenatal education, working hand in hand with excellent midwifery care, can deliver better outcomes for women and babies. We look forward to the government’s full response to the recommendations.” 

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