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RCOG statement: NHS England maternity ratings

News 28 October 2016

NHS England has published new ratings on maternity, highlighting where areas are performing really well, but also helping to identify where improvements can be made.

Professor Lesley Regan, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said:

“The UK is a safe place to give birth, however, the pressures on maternity services are growing and stretched and understaffed services affect the quality of care provided to both mothers and babies. Doctors and midwives must train and work in multi-professional teams to ensure that women receive a high quality and safe service.

“The new maternity ratings will help pinpoint areas for improvement to ensure women receive the best care possible. This is an opportunity to learn from areas that have been rated as performing well, highlighting examples of good practice and work on everyone achieving a higher rating. Every effort will also be made to improve choice for those dissatisfied without compromising the safety of their care.

“Through the new National Maternity and Perinatal Audit, the RCOG, in partnership with the RCM and RCPCH, will provide maternity units across the country with high quality data that will enable them to benchmark their performance and identify priority areas for improving the safety and quality of the care they provide.

“Moreover more needs to be done to support women give up smoking as we know that babies in the womb can be harmed by tobacco smoke as it reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that pass through the placenta from mother to baby. There is also a higher risk of pregnancy complications and experiencing problems with the baby’s growth and wellbeing.

"These new ratings for neonatal mortality and stillbirth rates show wide variation across the country. This is an area of concern for the College and our Each Baby Counts initiative aims to halve the number of term stillbirths, early neonatal deaths and brain injuries occurring in the UK as a result of incidents during term labour by 2020."

ENDS

NHS England: New ratings published for maternity