POSTCODE LOTTERY Mums left in blood-covered sheets, told ‘stop stressing’: reality of maternity services laid bare in new report

GOOD pregnancy care for women in the UK "is the exception rather than the rule", a landmark inquiry has said.

The report was led by Conservative MP Theo Clarke, who thought she was going to die when giving birth to her daughter in 2022.

A new report found that good maternity care was 'the exception rather than the rule'
A new report found that good maternity care was 'the exception rather than the rule'Credit: Getty

A health minister has since apologised after the new report said that poor care in maternity services is “frequently tolerated as normal”.

The report detailed some harrowing stories of mothers being left to lie in their own blood and urine or having concerns about their baby’s health ignored, which in some cases resulted in death.

According to The Times, the inquiry found there was "shockingly poor quality" in maternity services in the UK.

Theo said there is an unacceptable "postcode lottery on maternity services".

"We have listened to mums carefully and applaud their bravery in coming forward, sometimes with horrific testimony of how the system failed them and the mental, physical and economic cost of that failure," the MP told the newspaper.

"The raft of recommendations we make, especially the appointment of a maternity commissioner, are all designed to end the postcode lottery on maternity services."

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Depending on where you live, you will literally be offered a different level of care in terms of how you're given support during childbirth and afterwards."

Describing her own experience, she added: "I remember pressing the emergency button after I'd come out of surgery, and a lady came in and said she couldn't help me, said it wasn't her baby, wasn't her problem, and walked out and left me there - so we need to make sure there are safe levels of staffing."


The women’s health minister, Maria Caulfield, acknowledged on Monday that ministers had long erred in their approach to maternity services.

“Absolutely,” Maria said when asked if there was an apology to be made.

“I recognise as women’s health minister that maternity services have not been where we want them to be,” she told Sky News.

She has the Government is already doing much of the work recommended by Theo Clarke's birth trauma report.

"It isn't just about the birth and afterwards, that's probably where we've been going wrong for such a long time, this has been happening to women for decades," she told Times Radio.

"This is about looking after women before they go into birth."

Ms Caulfield also told LBC: “If you actually look at the neo-natal deaths and stillbirth deaths, they are falling by roughly between 20 and 30 per cent, so the measures we are putting in are working.

“We know, for example, that Covid had a significant impact on pregnant mums and on poorer outcomes for babies.

“Our figures are better than the Labour-run health service in Wales, for example, and they are not putting in any of these measures.”

NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard said the experiences of more than 1,300 women who have evidence to the inquiry were "simply not good enough".


Health Secretary Victoria Atkins said she was "determined to improve the quality and consistency of care for women throughout pregnancy, birth and the critical months that follow".

In January, she shared her personal experience of the "darker corners" of the NHS after giving birth as a patient with type one diabetes.

"I want to reform our NHS and care system to make it faster, simpler, and fairer for all of us, including women," she said.The report calls for a new maternity commissioner who will report to the prime minister.

Each year, around 30,000 women will suffer a negative experience before, during or after delivery

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.