Maternity Safety Report Released

Published on: 12/07/2021

A new report has been released today by MP’s into maternity safety. One of the main statements is a call for urgent action to address staffing shortfalls in maternity services.

The report recognises that while the NHS offers some of the safest maternal outcomes in the world, there is still variation in the quality of maternity care, which means not all babies are arriving safely in the UK. The report said it recognised staffing and culture had started to improve but there was a persistent ‘culture of blame’.

Health and Social Care Committee’s Report’s key conclusions and recommendations:

Urgent action necessary to address staffing shortfalls in maternity services

Increase budget for maternity services by a minimum of £200-350m per annum with immediate effect

Government as a whole to introduce a target to end the disparity in maternal and neonatal outcomes with a clear timeframe for achieving that target

Reform litigation to award compensation for maternity cases based on whether an incident was avoidable rather than a requirement to prove clinical negligence

Dr Edward Morris, President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “We have been deeply concerned for some time now about how stretched and understaffed maternity services in England are. We are well aware that this sort of pressurised environment can affect the quality and safety of care provided to mothers and their babies, and restricts the choices available to women. We are pleased to see that MPs have called for urgent action to address these staffing shortfalls and that additional funding is recommended.

“We also strongly support the report’s recommendation to end disparities in maternal and neonatal outcomes among women from minority ethnic and socio-economically deprived backgrounds, and to implement a clear timeframe for achieving this goal. It’s unacceptable that these health disparities exist and we believe all women, irrespective of location, age, or ethnicity, should be able to access the same high-quality care.”

Heidi Eldridge, Chief Executive of MAMA Academy, said: “We welcome the findings of this report and the support from our MP’s requesting adequate funding be prioritised for sufficient maternity staffing levels.  The UK should be one of safest places in the world to give birth and care should be consistent for every parent regardless of their ethnicity, income status or postcode. We need to have open and transparent investigations which are made compulsory so that lessons can be learned so more parents can take their baby home. The Government must put these asks in motion immediately if they are to meet their ambition of halving the number of stillbirths by 2025.” 

Read the full report here.