Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
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Maternity survey

posted 25/01/2008   expires 25/04/2008

The trust welcomes the Healthcare Commission's report published today (25 January) as a very useful contribution to a comprehensive review of our maternity service which has been underway for some months.

It has reinforced many issues of which we were already aware and which underlie the action plan currently in place. A robust action plan has been in place for some months which has yielded very positive feedback from mothers.

The survey also reinforces our understanding of some of the areas in which we still have work to do. "One thing we had not realised before was how sometimes women's perceptions of our service and our perceptions of it are different - this means we must work harder at our communications," said Dr Vivienne van Someren, clinical director for women and children's services.

"Although over 75% of women report a good experience during their pregnancy and labour, we want every woman to have a good experience in every part of our maternity service, " said Dr Someren.

"Our scores for the postnatal period are a particular concern. This report will be a significant asset in helping us fine tune the wide-ranging programme of work we already have underway."

The programme was put in place following concerns raised by senior staff and users. It covers seven areas:

1. Management and co-ordination of the labour ward

2. Clinical governance and risk management

3. Updating of clinical guidelines and protocols

4. Supervision of midwives

5. Patient flows through the antenatal and postnatal ward

6. Workforce development and training

7. Customer care

Among the changes we have made are:

Improved cleanliness with 24 hour domestic cover

Increased clerical support on maternity wards, with a new housekeeper role planned for the labour ward and antenatal and postnatal ward, to allow midwives to spend more time with women

Review of midwifery staffing with funding of additional posts to improve midwifery care

New appointments of midwifery support workers in the community

Customer care training for maternity unit staff

A review of our support to women in the community

Implementing recommendations of the Department of Health's Birth Rate Plus

Increased consultant delivered care

Re-design of postnatal care to make it more focused on the women.

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