A study published today in the BMJ suggests that rates of perinatal death and other complications for both mothers and babies are higher at weekends than week days.
Dr David Richmond, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said:
“Although no definitive conclusions can be drawn from these results, they emphasise the need to identify the possible causes in order to ensure that women are receiving high-quality care at any given day of the week.
“The UK is a safe place for women to give birth, however pressure on maternity services is growing as women are having more complex pregnancies due to the rise in older mothers and maternal obesity.
“Appropriate numbers of maternity staff underpin a safe and quality service and adequate ‘out-of-hours’ senior staffing remains a key issue in maternity care.
“This includes appropriate staff training and supervision, ensuring good outcomes outside normal working hours and effective planning and risk management.
“More robust evidence on the quality of care afforded by different models of labour ward staffing is also required.”
Read the RCOG rapid response submitted to the BMJ.