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RCOG statement on BBC Panorama programme ‘Midwives under Pressure’

30 Jan 2024

On Monday 29 January, the BBC broadcast a Panorama programme called ‘Midwives under Pressure’, which covered topics such as safe staffing levels, organisational culture and whether lessons are being learned from mistakes in the provision of care and poor outcomes for families and their babies. 

Dr Ranee Thakar, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is aware of the BBC Panorama documentary ‘Midwives under Pressure’.

“Every injury or loss of life to a mother or baby is a tragedy and our hearts go out to the families featured in the programme and all those who have experienced this.

“The College supports maternity safety within the system through its role as an educator; developing the curriculum, improving standards of care through clinical guidance, supporting career development through exams, facilitating professional development courses and events, and support services for its members. In addition, the College brings its specific expertise to bear on quality improvement programmes in maternity safety and strongly advocates on behalf of women and birthing people and its membership to ensure system wide improvements are identified and delivered. The RCOG is committed to doing everything within our remit to support safety improvements.

“We know that no healthcare professional goes to work wanting to deliver unsafe care. Across maternity services, there are multidisciplinary teams who are more skilled than ever at working together to deliver high quality care and taking urgent action when complications arise.

 “The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan published last year was an important milestone, which we welcomed with caution. However, the inescapable reality is our services are under incredible strain, and staffing levels are below where they need to be, which is why we continue to call on the Government to commit to the much needed funding for maternity staffing and training and to implement initiatives to retain the skilled maternity workforce as a priority.”
  • Careers and workforce
  • Corporate
  • Pregnancy and birth