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Every day, maternity services support women and their families through pregnancy and childbirth.

In the UK the vast majority of women using maternity services have good outcomes and report a positive experience of care. However, maternity care can be complex and unfortunately, distressing and harmful outcomes do occur. Every mother or baby death or injury is a tragedy.

The College plays an important role to ensure safe, high quality maternity care is delivered and to continually raise the standards of professional practice globally, which includes improving maternity safety as a priority. Whilst the College is not able to intervene in disputes between employers and employees over behaviours, nor is it a regulator, the College is committed to improving safety.

The College supports maternity safety within the system through its role as an educator: developing the curriculum, raising standards of care through the development of clinical guidance, supporting the career development of clinicians through exams, professional development courses and events, and support services for its members. The College also delivers research and quality improvement programmes that contribute to improvements in maternity safety and as part of its influencing and advocacy activity, ensures system wide improvements are identified and delivered.

Recommendations from recent public inquiries into maternity care have identified clear areas for essential improvement. All parts of the system, who play a role in the delivery of maternity care have taken action to examine their activities to make sure they are focused in the right areas and respond to the pressures on the system and the needs of women and families.

Using a robust methodology and under the leadership of the RCOG Maternity Safety working group, the College has reviewed all of the ways it supports the delivery of improved maternity care.

Looking ahead

As part of the review the College also considered the areas where it could build on the breadth of work already being delivered, alongside its past and existing maternity safety programmes, education, guidance, training and advocacy work, to develop new initiatives to drive improvements in maternity safety.