New mums rate local maternity services highly

Published: 30 January 2018

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s maternity services are performing well in comparison to other NHS Trusts across the country, according to a new national survey.

The ‘Maternity Services Survey’ is commissioned by the independent health and social care watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It provides NHS Trusts with feedback about how well maternity services are meeting important performance targets and gives vital insight into the experience of new mothers.

Nationally, 130 NHS Trusts were involved in the survey, with responses coming directly from thousands of women who gave birth during January and February 2017.

The Trust’s performance was rated by 118 women who had given birth either at home, at Newton Abbot Community Hospital (Whitelake midwifery led unit) or at Torbay Hospital. New mums gave very positive feedback about their experiences and placed the Trust in the top 20 per cent of hospitals in the country in 31 of the questions asked. This includes:

  • being provided with enough information to help decide on the place of birth
  • being involved in the decisions made regarding care
  • being listened to
  • being treated with kindness and understanding
  • cleanliness of the hospital room / ward
  • information, active support and encouragement about feeding their baby
  • receiving help and advice in the post natal period

Rachael Glasson, Head of Midwifery and Gynaecology at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “On average, six babies are born every day under our care, and we want every one of them to have the best possible start in life. We really value this open and honest feedback as it enables us to see what’s working well and what we could do even more of to support mothers throughout their pregnancy, birth and beyond.

“Since the last survey in 2015, we have worked hard to continually improve the service we offer. An example of this includes enabling birthing partners to stay overnight on our ward. I’m really pleased to see the positive impact this has had on mothers and their experience which is reflected in this year’s results.”

Comments received from the survey included: “… I will never forget the excellent care my baby and I received …”, “I personally could not thank the midwives, health visitors, doctors and anyone else I have come in to contact with since giving birth, [during] pregnancy and [when giving] birth, enough. They were all always helpful, informative, professional and supportive” and “I would like to comment that the midwifery care I received was fantastic. I felt supported and cared for from my first appointment right through to after the birth. For me my birth did not go to plan but the midwives were incredible…nothing was too much trouble and I was treated with respect and kindness despite being incredibly nervous and apprehensive. …all in all the care I received was exceptional.”

The survey also highlights where new mums feel that services can be improved. The Trust was placed in the bottom 20 per cent of hospitals in the country in just one of the questions asked. New mums felt that services could be enhanced by health professionals giving information or offering advice about contraception. The Trust will be developing an action plan to address this feedback and ensure that improved contraception guidance is offered to new mothers in Torbay and South Devon.