Maternity safety compromised in a third of NHS trusts

An increase in funding of £200-£350 million per year is urgently needed to resolve the problems of understaffing endemic in NHS maternity units, say MPs in a report from the House of Commons Health Committee. Safety of patients is being compromised by a lack of staff with over a third of NHS maternity units needing to improve on safety.

Although NHS maternity services have made large strides in improving safety, a lack of staff coupled with a culture of blame is preventing the NHS from improving still further. The report calls for a radical new approach to investigating and resolving incidents of harm to patients to enable the NHS to move away from a culture of blame.

Reacting to the report, Gill Walton, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said that maternity staff have been “working incredibly hard, under extraordinary pressure for many, many years to deliver the safest and best possible care. They have been doing this within a system that often fails them by not giving them the staff, resources, and modern facilities they need to do their jobs as safely as possible….These reports show that the Government must step up and they must give our maternity services the staff and the money it needs, and they must do it quickly.”

Full story in The Lowdown, 9 July 2021