Maternity Services Survey

Declan Russ and Megan Day and Elija at SCUBU

Published: 3 February 2020

Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s maternity services are continuing to perform well in comparison to other NHS Trusts across the country, according to an annual national survey.

The survey shows that the Trust’s Maternity Services has responded especially well to the wishes of new mothers for extra post-natal support, with partners or a supporter now enabled to stay with them 24 hours a day.   A first-time mother in the Trust’s Special Care Baby Unit in Torbay Hospital has backed the findings due to her experiences after which she had nothing but praise for maternity staff.

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, 126 NHS Trusts were involved in the survey, with responses coming directly from thousands of women who gave birth during a snapshot month – February 2019  

The Trust’s performance was rated by 124 women who had given birth either at home, in the Newton Abbot Community Hospital (Whitelake Midwifery Led Unit) or at Torbay Hospital. New mums gave very positive feedback about their experiences and the Trust scored better than other Trusts in 11 of the 53 questions and scored similarly to other organisations in 37 areas including:  

  • being provided with choice about where to have their baby
  • being given the help needed when contacting the midwifery team
  • taking into consideration women’s personal circumstances when giving advice 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
  • Consideration and support for emotional health
  • Having skin to skin contact with baby immediately after birth
  • being able to access feeding advice during evenings, nights and weekends 

Rachael Glasson, Head of Midwifery and Gynaecology at Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust,   said: “Our team supports the birth 2,300 of babies each year and we aim to give each and every mother and baby the best start to motherhood and 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. We are sincerely thankful to the women who took the time to complete the survey, with over 41 per cent of women responding to the survey, significantly higher than the national response rate of 36 per cent.  

“In our survey last year some mothers felt improvements could be made around postnatal care within the hospital. As a result, we reviewed our care provision.  

“Following a successful trial, of enabling partners or a supporter to stay 24 hours a day, we fully implemented this with good feedback from women regarding the additional support this offered to them. This was reflected with an increased satisfaction rate within the survey. We also introduced the use of iPads with postnatal information that could be watched and then discussed with the maternity staff prior to going home.  

“Going forward we will now look at the result of this survey to look at other ways in which we can further enhance the experience of our mothers and babies.” 

First-time mother Megan Day gave birth to Elijah a week ago. She has nothing but praise for her care: "The staff cannot do enough for me and Declan and Elijah. It's a major thing for us that they let Declan stay 24 hours a day with us, especially as we are staying in longer than expected. Elijah is doing much better now and we expect to go home soon.

"The staff are always popping into check we are all ok and keeping us informed about test results and what's happening next and why. I can't speak highly enough about them."

Declan said: "It means so much for me to be able to stay here with Elijah and Megan. The staff already work very hard, but nothing is too much for them and they give us a lot of confidence in what's happening and in Elijah's health."