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RCOG responds to HMP Bronzefield report

News 22 September 2021

The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO) has published today the independent investigation into the death of a baby (Baby A) at HMP Bronzefield on 27 September 2019.

The investigation identified a considerable number of issues and concerns about the care and management of Ms A, the baby’s mother.  The report makes a significant number of recommendations to improve maternity services in Bronzefield.

The RCOG has published it's policy position statement on maternity care for women in prison in England and Wales.

Commenting on the report, Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “The death of a baby at HMP Bronzefield is a tragedy, and the findings of today’s report by the Prison and Probation Ombudsman show major failures in the system. Our sympathies go out to the baby’s mother and wider family.

“We believe all women, regardless of their background or whether they are in prison, should have equal access to high-quality maternity and perinatal care at the right time. It is unacceptable that being in prison often leads to poorer maternal and neonatal outcomes.   

“We welcome the Government’s new policy framework for prisons on pregnancy, Mother and Baby Units and maternal separation as a significant step forward in ensuring the right provisions are put in place.The next step is to ensure that these policy commitments are translated in to practice on the ground across all women’s prisons, and that all staff in women’s prisons receive the right training to provide women with the information and support they need.

“Alongside strong links to the local midwifery team, we feel strongly that all maternity services located near to a women’s prison should have a designated obstetrician with responsibility for ensuring high quality care for women in prison.  This is vital for ensuring women have access to the right professional when they need it.”

ENDS

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

Notes to editor

  • The PPO's report on HMP Bronzefield can be read here.
  • The 'Pregnancy, MBUs and maternal separation in women’s prisons Policy Framework' can be viewed on the Government website.
  • The RCOG position statement on maternity care for women in prison in England and Wales can be read here.