The CQC survey women’s experience of maternity care in the NHS to determine what works well and where the service can improve

policy digest

26 / 02 / 2019

2018 Survey of women’s experiences of maternity care
Care Quality Commission January 2019

 
The CQC has published survey results outlining the experiences of 17,600 women who gave birth in February 2018 (including January 2018 if trusts had smaller numbers of birth during February), as well as the quality of antenatal and postnatal support they received. 

There were fewer improvements compared to the last time the survey was carried out in 2017. Nevertheless, while few questions had improved, there are several questions which continue to have positive results over time, with some of the best results seen for questions asking about interactions with staff. 

 

Positive Results

 A large proportion of the women surveyed (88 per cent) felt they were ‘always’ spoken to in a way they could understand during labour and birth, and a high number ‘definitely’ felt they had confidence and trust in the staff caring for them (82 per cent). 
Notably, more than 9 in 10 women had a telephone number for a midwife or midwifery team they could contact (97 per cent), and a high number of women were told by their midwife that they would need to arrange a postnatal check-up of their own health with their GP (92 per cent). 

 

Areas for Improvement

Women’s experiences of postnatal care continue to remain less positive than all other aspects of their maternity journey, with information sharing and communication being the key areas identified where improvements are needed.

Choice: 15% of women are still not being offered choices about aspects of their care, and most women were not offered a choice about where their antenatal care (68 per cent) or their postnatal care (58 per cent) care would take place. 

Seeing the same midwife (continuity of carer): There have been improvements in continuity of carer, however many women still do not receive this. Over a quarter of women (28%) did not see the same midwife but would have liked to, and a large proportion of women were not seen by the same midwife every time for their postnatal care at home (72 per cent). 

Information and communication: Women’s experiences of information provision and communication could be improved, particularly during postnatal care and around infant feeding where results were less positive than for other aspects of the maternity pathway. 

Fewer women said they were ‘definitely’ given enough information about their own physical recovery after the birth (57 per cent in 2017 down to 53 per cent in 2018), and about any emotional changes they might experience after the birth (59 per cent in 2017 down to 56 per cent in 2018). 

Postnatal contact at home: Fewer women reported being visited at home by a midwife following the birth of their baby (from 95 per cent in 2013 and 2015, to 94 per cent in 2017 and down to 93 per cent in 2018). 

How experiences vary for different groups of women: Women’s experiences of continuity of care effected average experience scores, suggesting that ongoing relationships can have a positive impact on women’s experiences.
 

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