CQC survey highlights improvements in maternity care

The survey of more than 20,000 women shows improvements in communication and support for infant feeding

A national survey by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has highlighted improvements in maternity care including communication by healthcare professionals and support for infant feeding.

For its fourth survey of maternity care, the CQC received responses from more than 20,000 women who gave birth in January or February 2015 in one of the 133 NHS trusts in England.

It found nearly two-thirds (62%) felt they were always given the information or explanations they needed while they were in hospital and after the birth of their baby – compared with 59% in 2013.

The majority (89%) of women said that they had always been spoken to in a way that they could understand during their antenatal care. This was up by 7% since 2007.

A choice of giving birth in a midwife-led unit or birth centre was given to 41% of the women surveyed, compared with 35% in 2013.

There has also been a rise of 21% in the number of women saying they felt that midwives and other healthcare professionals gave support and encouragement about feeding their baby – from 42% in 2007 to 63% in 2015.

CQC chief inspector of hospitals Sir Mike Richards said he was glad the findings suggest women are experiencing better care during pregnancy and birth, but he said improvement is still needed.

He said: ‘The survey identifies some examples of encouraging data trends showing improvements across a number of areas, and reinforces the importance of NHS trusts focusing on women’s individual needs and choices.

‘From our own inspection work of maternity services so far – rating just over 60% of trusts as either good or outstanding – there is no doubt of the improvement work that is still needed in order to narrow the wide gap of variation that we know exists.

‘I hope NHS trusts will make full use of their individual survey results so that they can translate the delivery of maternity services into consistent and high quality care for the benefit of all women and their families.’

The CQC will study the survey findings before publishing an official response in the new year.

Click here for the survey results. 


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