New mums are delighted with the experience of giving birth at the country’s biggest provider of maternity services, according to the regulator of NHS care.
Barts Health NHS Trust consistently scored eight or nine out of a possible ten, in questions asked in a national survey by the Care Quality Commission.
And women whose babies were delivered at the Trust’s hospitals and clinics rated maternity services much improved in three-quarters* of the questions asked.
The findings were backed up by the CQC’s own inspectors who have improved the official ratings for all of the Trust’s maternity services in the past eighteen months. Maternity care is now rated as ‘good’ at Whipps Cross, and has gotten better at Newham and The Royal London with ratings improving from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Requires improvement’.
Despite the vast improvements, however, the report also highlights areas where further work is needed, including to involve women in decisions about their care and supporting women emotionally.
Gloria Rowland, Director of Midwifery at Barts Health NHS Trust said: “I am proud that improvements made by our dedicated maternity teams is clearly benefiting the thousands of women and babies who we care for. But we also know that there is more we can do, and we are redoubling our efforts to consistently provide the high quality care we aspire to.”
Almost 16,000 babies have been born so far in 2017-18 in the Trust’s range of maternity services which span east London, including midwife-led birth centres, home-birth community teams and hospitals.
The Trust scored better than average for offering women a choice of locations for antenatal checks, and providing advice to women about looking after their own health with postnatal check-ups.
Women in Tower Hamlets now have far more choice about where to have their baby, following the recent launch of a homebirth team and the opening of a midwife-led birth centre at The Royal London. In addition, a specialist maternity clinic to support women who have experienced sexual violence, ran with charity 'My Body Back', has been recognised as an outstanding area of practice by the CQC.
In recognition of the quality of choice provided to women, Newham’s maternity team won The Royal College of Midwives’ Euro King Better Births Award last year. The team were also nominated for the College’s ‘Caring for You’ campaign for their work to improve the morale of midwives which has been credited with increasing the number of permanent midwives.
The Royal College of Midwives has also shortlisted the Whipps Cross maternity team as its ‘team of the year 2018’. The future is looking bright for Whipps Cross, with the recent announcement of a £6.8m redevelopment of women’s and children’s services and a new research centre, funded by Barts Charity.