Declining patient satisfaction in maternity care

  • Date: 12 January 2023

A SURVEY of women giving birth in 2022 found that fewer reported being provided appropriate advice and support from midwives or hospitals at the start of their labour compared to figures from 2017.

The proportion dropped from 87 per cent in 2017 to 82 per cent in 2022.

The survey, conducted annually by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), also found that fewer women felt they were ‘always’ given the information and explanations they needed while in hospital – 66 per cent in 2017 compared to 59 per cent in 2022.

The survey did show that many respondents were still positive about their interactions with staff. Most (80 per cent) said midwives ‘always’ listened to them at their antenatal check-ups and 85 per cent felt they were given enough support for their mental health during their pregnancy.

Availability of staff was an area of concern, with 63 per cent of those surveyed less likely to say they were ‘always’ able to get a member of staff to help them when they needed attention during labour and birth (72 per cent in 2019). Results were lower for care in hospital after the birth, with 57 per cent saying they were ‘always’ able to get help (62 per cent) in 2019.

Just under three-quarters (71 per cent) said they were ‘always’ involved in decisions about their postnatal care.

Over three-quarters of those surveyed (78 per cent) reported ‘definitely’ having confidence and trust in the staff involved in labour and birth and 69 per cent in staff providing antenatal care.

Commenting on the survey, Victoria Vallance, CQC’s Director of Secondary and Specialist Care, said: “It is good to see that satisfaction among many of those surveyed remains high and there are some improvements in terms of mental health support and hospital discharge delays – despite challenges that we know services are facing. However, these results show that far too many women feel their care could have been better.

“The trend analysis carried out this year reveals a concerning decline over time, particularly in relation to accessing information and support and getting help when it was most needed. This reflects the increasing pressures on frontline staff as they continue in their efforts to provide high quality maternity care with the resources available.”

Link: Maternity survey 2022

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