The RCOG is pleased to announce that it will lead the new National Maternity and Perinatal Audit, commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) on behalf of NHS England, the Welsh Government and the Health Department of the Scottish Government. It will be carried out by the RCOG’s Lindsay Stewart Centre for Audit and Clinical Informatics in partnership with the Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
For the first time, this audit will evaluate the quality of care received by women and newborns cared for by hospital services across England, Wales and Scotland. Its aim is to assess and improve the organisation and quality of maternity services as well as provide timely, high quality data that compares the care provided and outcomes achieved by providers of maternity care across a range of audit measures.
By combining existing local and national data sources, the audit will combine clinical leadership, methodological expertise and a secure environment for data collection, storage and analysis to deliver a continuous prospective clinical audit using a comprehensive set of indicators. The first part of the project will include an organisational survey in order to gain a complete understanding of the structure and delivery of maternity services, as well as identify the factors which contribute to variation in maternity care. The first annual report is expected in 2017.
Professor Alan Cameron, Vice President of Clinical Quality at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said:
“The majority of women giving birth in the UK receive safe and high-quality care. However, the stillbirth rate is higher in the UK than many other European countries. There is also evidence of substantial variation in maternity care among hospitals, as well as between women from different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds.
“By collecting robust information on outcomes, this audit will allow healthcare professionals, NHS managers, commissioners and policy makers to examine the extent to which current practice meets the array of guidelines and standards and to compare services and maternal and neonatal outcomes among maternity units.
“There is no one size fits all approach to maternity care, but there is a need to focus on how individual obstetric units can provide the highest quality of care at all times given their geography, size, the complexity of care they provide for women, comorbidity, tiers of staff, training opportunities as well as finances. This audit will provide vital information to allow us to deliver world class services which are consistently safe and constantly improving and evolving to meet the needs of women and their families.”
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The audit is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership on behalf of NHS England, the Welsh Government and the Health Department of the Scottish Government. It is being carried out by the Lindsay Stewart Centre for Audit and Clinical Informatics at the Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in partnership with the Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (responsible for clinical leadership) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine Department for Health Services Research and Policy (responsible for methodological leadership).