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RCOG release: Updated guidance on reviewing obstetric and gynaecology services published

News 23 January 2014

An updated guide outlining the review process of obstetric and gynaecology services is published today by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), to help provide the highest possible standards of care for women. 

The RCOG receives requests for invited reviews of obstetric and/or gynaecology services, or of individual clinical practice when responsible officers (ROs) and healthcare organisations (HCOs) have concerns.

The reviews provide an independent perspective where concerns are raised with regard to the standards of care being provided by an individual clinician or service, or where validation and advice on configuration of women’s services is required.

This document sets out the RCOG’s approach to these requests. The College has a role to assist ROs and HCOs in these circumstances to:

  • evaluate a service or individual’s practice where concerns have been raised
  • establish whether problems do exist and, if so, in which areas, and make recommendations to the HCO
  • support HCOs in implementing RCOG standards such as Safer Childbirth: Minimum Standards for the Organisation and Delivery of Care in Labour, Standards for Gynaecology and/or Standards for Maternity Care
  • provide a source of advice and ‘signposting’ for assistance where the College cannot itself directly respond to the request.

This guidance aims to inform ROs and HCOs how the RCOG can assist them and outline the process to ensure that each review is both robust and fair to all concerned. There is also guidance for assessors undertaking reviews, to ensure that they are supported through the process.

Professor Alan Cameron, Vice President, Clinical Quality, said:

“One of the key objectives of the RCOG is to set standards to improve women’s health. One way to achieve this is through the promotion of the highest standards of care for women accessing both obstetric and gynaecology services and the review process is a key part of this.

“An invited review can play an important part in evaluating concerns, protecting patient care and ensuring patient safety when there are concerns raised.

“Moving forward from the Francis Inquiry, the RCOG is committed to ensuring that patient safety is integral to the work we do and further that it is embedded into the daily practice of all trainees and specialists in obstetrics and gynaecology.”


For further information, please contact the RCOG Media and PR team on +44 20 7772 6300 or email

To read the full document please click here