Maternity safety improvements must take priority, says CQC report

on 22 September 2021

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a report on safety, equity and engagement in maternity services that highlights the need for maternity safety improvements to be prioritised.

The report also said that leadership and culture needed improvement, citing that this was a risk to maternity safety, women and their babies.

“We know that there are many maternity services that are providing excellent care, but we remain concerned that there has not been enough learning from good and outstanding services - or enough support for that learning from the wider system. Issues such as the quality of staff training; poor working relationships between obstetric and midwifery teams, and hospital and community-based midwifery teams; a lack of robust risk assessment; and a failure to engage with, learn from and listen to the needs of local women all continue to affect the safety of some hospital maternity services,” the report says.

As of July 2021, according to the CQC, 58% of NHS maternity services were rated as “good”, with 1% being rated as “outstanding”.

The Royal College of Midwives Director for Professional Midwifery, Dr Mary Ross-Davie, said: “The RCM welcomes this report as it brings together vital recommendations to improve safety in our maternity services. Crucially the report includes the voices and experiences of women and their families. While the report recognises that many maternity services across the UK are providing good care, the RCM is concerned that much more work needs to be done to bolster leadership and improve culture and multidisciplinary working.”

Analysis of data between January 2018 to December 2020 also shows that Black women were more likely to be readmitted during the postpartum period – a 30% difference compared to readmission for White women (93 readmissions per 1,000 deliveries for Black women compared to 68 readmissions per 1,000 deliveries for white women).

The report ‘Safety, equity and engagement in maternity services’ can be found here.