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RCOG responds to CQC maternity services report

News 21 September 2021

A new report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has highlighted continued concern about the variation in the quality and safety of England’s maternity services.

The CQC’s Safety, Equity and Engagement in Maternity Services presents an analysis of the key issues persisting in some maternity services and highlights where action is still needed to support vital improvements.

The report draws on the findings from a sample of nine focused maternity safety inspections carried out between March and June 2021, along with  insight gathered from interviews and direct engagement with organisations representing women and their families.

Commenting on the report, Dr Edward Morris, President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “We welcome this report by the CQC which acts to further identify the reason why just over 40 per cent of maternity units are now rated as either inadequate or requiring improvement.

“It’s discouraging to see that the issues highlighted in this report are ones we are all too familiar with - staff not having the right skills or knowledge; poor working relationships; poor risk assessments; and not learning from things going wrong. While the report acknowledges that progress is being made, the speed at which change is happening is far too slow. It’s tragic that these reoccurring failures are seriously impacting the health and wellbeing of the mothers and babies we healthcare professionals are trying to protect

“The report also found that some Maternity Voices Partnerships are not being supported by their local trusts. We would urge all trusts to put women’s voices at the centre of what they do, particularly those from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds who face poorer health outcomes. It’s so important those who access care feel able to voice any concerns they have and these are listened to and acted on.

"The past 18 months have put additional strain on a healthcare system that was already struggling. It’s vital we urgently put into practice these learnings and join up current programmes and resources within the maternity system to help the Government deliver on its manifesto promise to make the UK the best place in the world to give birth.”

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact the RCOG press office on +44 (0)7986 183167 or email pressoffice@rcog.org.uk.