Weekend Diagnosis: Maternity Services

20 January 2016

Mairead McAlindenThis Weekend Diagnosis is from Mairead McAlinden, our Chief Executive

Our purpose as integrated care organisation is to provide high-quality, safe health and social care at the right time and in the right place to support the people of Torbay and South Devon to live their lives to the full. And this commitment starts from the very beginning of someone’s life.

So it was really pleasing to receive the feedback from the latest national maternity services report which highlights that Torbay is performing well in comparison to other hospitals across the country.

Commissioned by the independent health and social care watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the report provides hospitals with feedback about how well maternity services are meeting important performance targets and gives vital insight into the experience of new mothers.

Nationally, 133 hospital trusts were involved in the survey, with responses coming directly from more than 20,000 women who gave birth during January and February 2015.

The Trust’s performance was rated by over 120 women who had birthed at home, at the Whitelake midwifery led unit in Newton Abbot or at Torbay Hospital. New mums gave very positive feedback about their experiences and placed Torbay in the top 20 per cent of hospitals for a number of key areas including:

  • being provided with enough information to help decide on the place of birth
  • having contact details of the midwife
  • being involved in the decisions made regarding care
  • being listened to
  • receiving help and advice in the post natal period.

On average, seven 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 2013, we have worked hard to improve access to ongoing support once new mums leave hospital by introducing maternity care assistants to support midwives in the community. The positive impact this has had on mothers and their experience is reflected in this year’s results.

The survey did highlight a couple of areas where new mums felt services could be improved further, particularly around information and advice about their own physical recovery after birth. So we have put in place an action plan to ensure that we continue to develop and improve our services to offer the very best care.

The survey can be found on the Care Quality Commission website.

Weekend Diagnosis a fortnightly column published in the Herald Express discussing local health and care issues.

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