Failings in maternity care highlighted by National Learning Report

A National Learning Report has been released this month by the Maternity and Newborn Safety Investigations (MSNI) with the aim of ensuring safer care in midwifery led maternity units.

After carrying out a review of 92 of their investigations, the MNSI found four common factors which impact on the level of maternity care:

  1. Work demands exceed capacity to respond
  2. Monitoring using intermittent auscultation, a method to assess a baby’s heartbeat used as an indication of their wellbeing, is not being used appropriately in line with national guidelines
  3. There is a lack of organisational readiness to respond to safety-critical incidents
  4. There are failings in telephone triage by midwives which results in pregnant women receiving a variation of advice

After highlighting these common themes, the report goes on to provide safety prompts to address how improvements could be made in each of these areas. The report recognises the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, the need for continuous training for staff and creating a culture of transparency and accountability in maternity care. The aim being to enable all Trusts to ensure that the safest possible care is provided to pregnant women. It is clear from the MSNI report that although there are positive developments, the rate of improvement is not happening quickly enough.

The themes in the report are nothing new and you only have to look at the findings of the Ockenden Report in 2022 to see similar problems being identified, as do other earlier reports.  Also, recent news reports record many women sharing their stories of trauma during childbirth. For them and many other families, the improvements in maternity care in all maternity units cannot come soon enough. 

If you or a member of your family have experienced problems with maternity care, then our specialist medical negligence team is highly experienced in birth injury cases and is able to provide impartial advice on potential claims.

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