New mothers rate King’s Mill highly for giving birth – but felt more isolated than ever during pandemic

New mums have rated King’s Hill Hospital highly for giving birth and the staff that help – but have felt more isolated than ever during the coronavirus pandemic, a survey suggests.

By Patrick Jack
Monday, 21st February 2022, 10:00 am
Just 61 per cent of women nationally said they saw or spoke to a midwife as much as they wanted during the postnatal period
Just 61 per cent of women nationally said they saw or spoke to a midwife as much as they wanted during the postnatal period

New data from the Care Quality Commission’s national survey of maternity experience shows Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs King’s Mill, scores highly in areas such as staff treating new mums with respect and dignity during the birth, being supportive and speaking to them in a way that they understand.

New mums also said they were included in decision making and given the explanations and information they needed after the birth of their baby. The cleanliness of the ward was also rated highly.

The Care Quality Commission polled 23,000 women aged 16 and over across England who gave birth in February 2021 – during the third national lockdown and under pandemic restrictions – on their experience of maternity services, This included 124 women at SFH.

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Patients were asked a range of questions and gave a score between zero – indicating a very negative experience – and 10, representing the best possible result.

When asked if their partner or someone else was able to stay with them as much as they wanted, mothers gave SFH an average score of just two out of 10.

This was down from 6.8 in 2019 – the last time the survey was held – and the lowest figure since it began in 2015.

SFH said the pandemic influenced some answers and shows a significant drop in satisfaction compared with previous years around partners being involved in labour as much as they wanted and being able to stay in hospital, a result seen across the board in NHS hospitals.

Paula Shore, SFH head of nursing and midwifery, said: “The care we provide to women and their babies and the experience they have while giving birth with us is very important.

“We recognise giving birth under pandemic restrictions has been difficult for new mums and their birthing partner and this is acknowledged in the results of the survey.

“Since the survey was carried out, we’ve extended visiting hours on our maternity ward and are facilitating a birthing partner to be present throughout the pregnancy journey.

“We’ll continue to work on ways to improve our service and look forward to being able to lift all Covid-19=related restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so.

“We’re pleased that, despite the restrictions, other areas of the survey remained high.

“This includes new mums feeling supported and treated with dignity and respect during their birth by maternity staff, being spoken to in a way that they understand and being involved in making decisions.”

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Just 61 per cent of women nationally said they saw or spoke to a midwife as much as they wanted during the postnatal period, which Elizabeth Duff, National Childbirth Trust senior policy adviser, said is an area of great concern.

She said: “This is an exceptionally vulnerable time for mothers and babies, so this lack of access to help risked real danger to both at a time when support from family and friends was more restricted too due to lockdowns.”

Mothers gave SFH a score of 7.8 out of 10 for whether they were left alone by midwives or doctors at a worrying time.

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