In response to today’s Care Quality Commission's Maternity Services Survey, Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Advisor, NCT, said:
"These results are great news and should be reassuring for pregnant women in England, with many reporting better antenatal and postnatal care. We are glad that the 'Better Births' recommendations have helped to provide clarity and that services are moving in the right direction.
“It’s good that more women have choice over where they give birth and see a midwife they know and trust throughout their whole pregnancy. Despite these improvements, there is still a lot more work to be done to ensure all women receive the quality of care they need. In particular, we hope to see improvements in the continuity of carer women receive postnatally, with 72% of new mothers reporting that they did not see the same midwife after leaving hospital.
“Encouragingly, the number of women left alone in labour has reduced. However it is still of great concern that 23% of women are left alone during the birth of their baby which can be a very frightening and dangerous experience. This reinforces the fact that staffing levels are low and midwives are being stretched to the limit, so we continue to call on the Government to address this midwife shortage.”
NCT research ‘Support Overdue’, released last year, showed that a worrying 50% of women reported at least one ‘red flag’ event, as defined by NICE, during labour. These are indicators of dangerously low staffing levels, such as women not receiving one-to-one care during established labour or there being an undue delay in a time-critical activity.