The National Maternity Survey 2013, published today on Thursday 12th December was undertaken on behalf of the Care Quality Commission and compiled after questionnaires were sent to Mothers who had babies in February this year.
Replies from Mothers who gave birth in Burton or Lichfield put Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust among the best performing trusts in England for giving women time to ask questions and discuss issues at antenatal check-ups, with an average score of 9 out of 10* and for explaining things clearly and respectfully during labour and birth, with an average score of 9.6 out of 10.
The Trust also performed ‘as well’ or ‘better’ than most other Trusts for women having a telephone number at home after the birth to enable them to contact a midwife (9.8 out of 10), for asking new mums how they felt emotionally after the birth (9.7 out of 10), for birth partners being able to be involved as much as they wanted during labour and delivery (9.7 out of 10) and for the cleanliness of the hospital room or ward (9 out of 10).
Head of Midwifery, Gill Salmon, said: “We are delighted that this survey will provide women and their families who have chosen to birth with us confidence that they can expect high quality care. Their birth experience is very important to us, and we will be working hard to show continued improvement.”
Gill said that the results, and especially the comments from new mums, showed an improvement on the previous survey carried out in 2010.
One mum said: “The midwives were fantastic, they gave me all the care and information I needed without bombarding me. This is my first baby and can be very scary but they put me at ease. The midwife at Queen’s Hospital Burton who delivered my child was fantastic. I cannot praise her enough. She was supportive and gave me lots of encouragement but also explained everything in a clear manner. I could not have done it without her, she made me stay calm, I can be a little stressed and worried at most things. I would like my thanks and praise to be passed on to her.”
Another mum, who was sent to Queen’s Hospital by ambulance from another unit after complications arose during her labour, said: “The staff at Queen’s were amazing! From the time I arrived there, the birth was one and a half hours (following meconium, a ventouse delivery and the umbilical cord round my baby’s neck) and the way they dealt with it was unbelievable. The two midwives deserve medals. I could not recommend Queen’s Hospital midwives highly enough and would definitely have my next baby there, no hesitation.”
Positive comments about the midwife-led maternity unit at Lichfield included: “I would really recommend Samuel Johnson Hospital. All care during my labour and after baby’s birth was incredibly good. All midwives were friends and helpful any time I asked for. I felt very welcome and treated as VIP.”
There was only one question in the survey where Burton Hospitals maternity services’ score was worse than the majority of trusts and that was “Did a midwife tell you that you would need to arrange a postnatal check-up of your own health with your GP?” Burton Hospitals scored an average 8.5 out of 10 on this question.
Gill said: “Now that we are aware of this weakness, and other areas where we can improve further, we can work to make sure we better inform patients going forwards.”
Some patients, in the comments section, said that feeding advice and support could have been better. This is another area the Trust has focused on and this month it was awarded Stage 2 accreditation under Unicef’s Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) which establishes a consistent approach to breast feeding.
Since the survey was carried out in February there have been further improvements at the Trust including investment in new en suite facilities, a birthing pool and new furnishings and decoration of all the Queen’s Hospital labour rooms.