The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) responds to the MBRRACE-UK themed State of the Nation confidential enquiry reports, including the annual Saving Lives, Improving Mothers’ Care surveillance of maternity mortality in the UK 2019-2021, and the UK and Ireland Confidential Enquiries into Maternal Death and Morbidity 2019-2021.
Dr Ranee Thakar, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said:
“Today’s reports show the Government ambition to reduce maternal mortality by 50% between 2010 and 2025 is unlikely to be met, and that women from Black and Asian ethnic backgrounds, and the most deprived communities, continue to have significantly worse outcomes than White women.
“We will carefully consider the recommendations in these important reports, and how we can take these forward in our work as educators, in our clinical guidance and our quality improvement programmes. We are committed to solutions such as the Tommy’s Clinical Decision Tool in development with the Royal College of Midwives, which improves risk assessment and care personalisation at key stages of antenatal care. Our Avoiding Brain Injury in Childbirth project will also improve clinical practice around two significant contributors to avoidable brain injury in childbirth.
“The Government must commit to NHS workforce investment, which underpins safe and compassionate care for patients. We also continue to call for a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities. Visible and funded Government commitment is needed, connecting every department to tackle health disparities.
“We fully endorse the MBRRACE recommendations that pregnant and breastfeeding women are not inappropriately excluded from vaccine and treatment research, and that information about medication and vaccines is clear. The College supported healthcare professional to provide safe, high-quality care for women during the COVID-19 pandemic, and worked closely with other Royal Colleges and NHS partners to respond to emerging evidence. It is vital learnings from the pandemic are used to save lives in future, and we are committed to playing our role in ensuring this happens”.
Notes to editors
RCOG supports the system in maternity safety through our role as educators in developing the curriculum, developing standards of care through clinical guidance, supporting career development through exams, facilitating professional development courses and events, and support services for our members. We are also committed to building on the research and quality improvement programmes already underway in maternity safety, and continuing our influencing and advocacy work on behalf of women to ensure system wide improvements are identified and delivered.
The College also jointly chairs The Independent Maternity Working Group (IMWG) with the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). This group was set up in response to the publication of the Final Ockenden Report with the remit to act as a critical friend to those who have responsibility to fund and implement the Immediate and Essential Actions (IEAs) identified in the review.
- Access the full MBRRACE-UK findings
- Read about the RCOG maternity safety programmes
- Read the RCOG’s ambition for race equality in obstetrics and gynaecology
- You can read about the case for a cross-government strategy to reduce health inequalities here.