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Maternity care must improve, says birth trauma report

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Published Time: 13.05.2024 - 11:40:37 Modified Time: 13.05.2024 - 11:40:37

Inquiry publishes recommendations including introduction of maternity commissioner after finding ‘poor care frequently tolerated as normal’ A parliamentary inquiry into birth trauma is calling for a national plan to improve maternity care

Inquiry publishes recommendations including introduction of maternity commissioner after finding ‘poor care frequently tolerated as normal’

A parliamentary inquiry into birth trauma is calling for a national plan to improve maternity care.

The all-party inquiry, led by Conservative MP Theo Clarke and Labour MP Rosie Duffield, is set to publish its findings on Monday.

According to The Times, the report found “poor care is all frequently tolerated as normal, and women are treated as an inconvenience”.

The creation of a maternity commissioner reporting to the Prime Minister is among the report’s recommendations.

Ms Clarke, who pushed for the inquiry after revealing in Parliament that she felt she was going to die after giving birth in 2022, told The Times: “We have listened to mums carefully and applaud their bravery in coming forward, sometimes with horrific testimony of how the system failed them and the mental, physical and economic cost of that failure.

“The raft of recommendations we make, especially the appointment of a maternity commissioner, are all designed to end the postcode lottery on maternity services.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 on Monday, Ms Clarke said more than 1,300 personal testimonies had been submitted to the Birth Trauma Inquiry, as well as information from 100 health experts.

Ms Clarke said: “I think what came through very strongly was that there does seem to be a postcode lottery for maternity care in this country.

“And that’s something that I don’t think is acceptable, that depending on where you live, you will literally be offered a different level of care in terms of how you’re given support during childbirth and afterwards.

“So what I’m doing with this report is calling on the government firstly to publish a national maternity improvement strategy, which I believe should be led by a new maternity commissioner, who reports directly to the Prime Minister.

“And I hope that that would reduce the number of women in this country who are affected by birth trauma.”

‘Simply not good enough’

Amanda Pritchard, NHS England chief executive, said the experiences of more than 1,300 women who gave evidence to the inquiry were “simply not good enough”.

Ms Clarke said the top recommendation of the report is to enhance recruitment of midwives to ensure safe levels of care.

She said: “So I’ve very much put the recruitment of midwives as our headline recommendation, as I genuinely believe that we need to have safe levels of staffing and our maternity services. 

“I saw that myself and their birth my own daughter and Staffordshire of how incredibly busy it was on the ward. I remember pressing the emergency button after I’d come out of surgery, and a lady came in and said she couldn’t help me, said it wasn’t her baby, it wasn’t her problem, and walked out and left me there.

“So we need to make sure there are safe levels of staffing.”

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