Double boost for Maternity Services

26 February 2008

Chelsea and Westminster has performed well in a major national survey of safety standards in NHS maternity services.

Chelsea and Westminster has performed well in a major national survey of safety standards in NHS maternity services.

In a second boost for our maternity services, our postnatal care has improved substantially in the last 12 months with a significant decrease in the number of both clinical incidents and complaints.

'Perinatal Mortality 2006' is a national study undertaken by the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH) which reports the numbers of stillbirths and perinatal deaths in all maternity units in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The good news for both patients and staff is that Chelsea and Westminster's figures for both stillbirths and perinatal deaths are well below the London and national averages.

This new study should reassure women that Chelsea and Westminster is a safe hospital for them to have their babies and the Trust's excellent performance is a credit to all staff.

The Trust was disappointed to receive a rating of 'Least well performing' in the Healthcare Commission's review of maternity services, published in January - the CEMACH data confirms that we provide a safe maternity service.

Our response to the Healthcare Commission rating focused on improvements that have been made by staff in Maternity since the health watchdog carried out its review last year – particularly in postnatal services.

A series of improvements – such as more thorough cleaning, the development of a transfer lounge where women and their babies can wait in comfort before going home, and a ward information pack for all women arriving on the ward – have been driven by a Postnatal Working Group including a patient representative.

New statistics confirm that the hard work and involvement of staff on Ann Stewart Ward in particular has improved postnatal care at Chelsea and Westminster:

  • 37% decrease in clinical incidents in 2007, in comparison with 2006
  • 48% decrease in complaints April-November 2007, in comparison with the same period in 2006

Martin Lupton, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, said: "Our Postnatal Working Party agreed that postnatal care had serious problems and that furthermore, we needed to sort the problems out as quickly as possible.

"I am delighted that this focused approach has made a demonstrable difference to our postnatal care. It would not have been possible without the involvement of midwives, consultants, pharmacists, facilities and many other staff."

Sally Brittain, Acting Head of Midwifery, agreed: "A huge amount of hard work from everyone involved has delivered real improvements to the quality of our postnatal care.

"A big reduction in both clinical incidents and complaints over the past 12 months is evidence that this hard work is paying off."

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