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Maternity care increasingly popular with women

27 October 2011

Women who have had their babies at Chelsea and Westminster are increasingly pleased with their maternity care, according to an independent survey.

Women who have had their babies at Chelsea and Westminster are increasingly pleased with their maternity care, according to an independent survey.

All women who gave birth in February this year either in the hospital or at home with Trust midwives were invited to complete the survey by the Picker Institute.

  • 96% of women rated their care during pregnancy as 'Excellent', 'Very good' or 'Good'—compared with 91% in 2010
  • 94% of women rated their care during labour and birth as 'Excellent', 'Very good' or 'Good'—the same as in 2010
  • 80% of women rated their hospital care after the birth as 'Excellent', 'Very good' or 'Good'—compared with 77% in 2010

Areas of significant improvement since last year include midwives and other staff giving practical assistance and consistent advice to help women feed their babies, as well as the length of time that women spend in hospital after they give birth.

Vivien Bell, Head of Midwifery and General Manager for Maternity Services, says: "The results of this year's survey are encouraging because there has been an increase in overall patient satisfaction and significant improvements in a number of areas that we have focused on over the last 12 months.

"The areas for improvement identified by women in this year's survey are not a surprise because we are constantly reviewing the service in response to feedback from women and their families. We are already taking action to address them."

The three main areas for improvement are facilities (especially cleanliness), information/communication, and continuity of care for women during their pregnancy.

Actions taken to address these areas include:

Facilities

  • Major refurbishment of the Antenatal Clinic
  • Refurbishment of bathrooms on the postnatal ward to make wet rooms
  • Opening of a new Birthing Unit for women with uncomplicated pregnancies who are expecting a normal delivery
  • Introduction of a 24-hour housekeeping role on Labour Ward

Information/Communication

  • Development of a postnatal DVD for new parents
  • Filming of a video and virtual tour of the Maternity Unit for the Trust website
  • Reworking of written information for new parents to make it clearer

Continuity of care

  • Development of a more stable workforce by reducing the midwife vacancy rate and therefore reducing the reliance on temporary agency staff
  • Launch of a Maternity Support Worker Strategy to 'upskill' support workers so that midwives can focus on providing the care that only they can provide

Vivien Bell says: "We have shared the results of the survey with all staff and also with our user group, the Maternity Services Liaison Committee, to celebrate improvement and to foster a culture of continuing improvement.

"We will continue to make further improvements and check our progress by asking the Picker Institute to carry out another survey in February 2012."