Today we have launched Support Overdue 2017, based on our second survey of women’s experiences of their maternity care carried out with the WI. This builds on the 2013 report we published and provides further insights into the experiences of 2,500 women who gave birth in England or Wales during 2014, 2015, or the first half of 2016.
Women are generally positive about the maternity care they receive and many praised the kindness and professionalism of the staff who cared for them. However, some findings gave cause for concern.
For example, we asked about NICE describes as a ‘red-flag’ event – indicators of dangerously low staffing levels, such as a women not receiving one-to-one care during established labour or having to wait more than an hour to be washed or receive stitches after birth – and found that, half of all women surveyed had experienced a red flag event.
Postnatal care remains an area of concern with no change in the percentage of women – roughly one in five – telling us they were not able to see a midwife as much as they needed post-birth. A third of women who were not able to see a midwife as often as they needed postnatally reported that this resulted in a delay in a health problem being diagnosed in them or their baby.
We will be using these findings to press for improvements to maternity services and today our senior policy advisor will be presenting the findings to the Health Select Committee in Parliament. If you are on social media, do join the conversation using the hashtag #supportoverdue