Released on: 09 February 2024

Responding to the CQC’s 2023 Maternity Survey on women's experiences of maternity care in England, Angela McConville, Chief Executive at NCT, said:  

“At a national level, the survey shows that women’s experiences of care have deteriorated over the last five years. However, it is reassuring to see some improvement in women’s experiences in certain areas of maternity care over the last year, but progress has been slow and inconsistent. While it’s positive to note that services are recovering, there is still the overwhelming issue of understaffing, poor continuity of care, and lack of good postnatal care.  

“The survey points to the majority (59%) of those giving birth not having the same midwives at any stage of their care journey. During such a vulnerable stage of their lives, women are being let down.   

“It’s clear that midwives are doing an incredible job of supporting women in the lead up to giving birth, but we cannot ignore the increasing pressures on them. We know that staff shortages often lead to unsafe practices and poor care.  

"More maternal deaths occur postnatally and yet care in this period has seen the least progress. From our own NCT Parents in Mind programme, which offers community-based mental health support for parents, we see an increasing number of women who are struggling with their mental health after birth.  

“It is devastating to see a decline in the number of women given information or explanations they needed after birth, whilst more than a quarter felt they were not always treated with kindness or understanding while in hospital after giving birth.  

“Maternity services are creaking under the strain of long-term underinvestment in the midwifery workforce, often to the detriment of mothers and their babies. The government must urgently invest in funding for recruitment, retention and training for maternity and midwifery staff in order to deliver safe, compassionate and personalised care for all women.” 

You can read the full report here

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