Commenting in response to the National Maternity and Perinatal Audit (NMPA) Organisational Report 2017, Professor Lesley Regan, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said:
“The NMPA is a unique and pioneering collaboration between three medical Royal Colleges which signals the necessity of obstetricians, midwives and neonatologists working together to drive improvements in care for women and their babies.
“Despite the current pressures on the NHS, all maternity and neonatology units in England, Scotland and Wales took part in this ambitious and important audit, which is a testament to their commitment in seeking improvements. While the results show some promising developments, it also highlights where improvements must and should be made, for example, ensuring all women can choose from the full range of birth settings, have continuity of care during pregnancy and access to their electronic maternity records.
"The difficulties in securing staffing in obstetric units is particularly worrying. Moving forward it is anticipated that rota gaps will persist and worsen in most units. The pressures on maternity services are growing which could compromise the experience for women and their families. Stretched and understaffed services also affect the quality of care provided to both mothers and babies. If the UK governments are serious about improving the safety of maternity services, these staffing and capacity issues must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“We urge clinicians, commissioners and policy makers to read the report, evaluate why variations in availability of staff, facilities and services exist, and where appropriate, to work together to identify good practice and drive improvements to deliver the best possible service in their area for mothers and their babies.”
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About the RCOG
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is a medical charity that champions the provision of high quality women’s healthcare in the UK and beyond. It is dedicated to encouraging the study and advancing the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. It does this through postgraduate medical education and training and the publication of clinical guidelines and reports on aspects of the specialty and service provision.