A quarter of women in English hospitals are being left alone during labour, says the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

In a recent survey, the CQC asked 23,000 women to comment upon the care they received during pregnancy, labour and birth. The poll showed that:

  • 39% of women raised concerns, with one fifth saying they were not taken seriously enough
  • 25% of women were left alone during labour or birth
  • 9% reported problems with the cleanliness of bathrooms and toilets
  • 22% of women said they did not have confidence in the midwives caring for them
  • 50% did not use the pain relief they had planned to, with one in four saying this was due to the lack of time

Common concerns highlighted by women included poor pain management, cleanliness and being bullied over breastfeeding.

Experts suggest staff shortages are to blame for the problems. There are now 21,000 midwives in England, a rise of 1,200 from 2011.

Despite the increase, the Royal College of Midwives says 4,800 more midwives are needed to cope with the birth rate – which is currently the highest it’s been since the 1970s.

Out of the 137 maternity care units in England, the survey’s worst performing hospitals were:

  1. Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust
  2. Barts Health NHS Trust
  3. Croydon Health Services NHS Foundation Trust
  4. Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  5. Lewisham Health Care NHS Trust
  6. North West London Hospitals NHS Trust
  7. Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

“Just not good enough”

Sir Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, said: “In too many cases the quality of care delivered is just not good enough. Women and their partners are being left alone when it worries them, toilets and wards are described as unclean and some women are not given the pain relief they had expected or planned to use.”

Cathy Warwick, from the Royal College of Midwives, said: “The survey shows that the NHS continues to fail too many women. It sets out yet more evidence of the real-life and disheartening effects on women of the shortage of midwives. How many more flashing red lights do we need?”

Negligence during labour

If you have suffered injury because of substandard medical care during pregnancy, labour or birth, get in touch with us today to discuss your options. If we believe you are the innocent victim of medical negligence, you could be entitled to claim compensation.

Share Article With:

delicious digg facebook reddit twitter stumble upon