Government finally commits to long-awaited investment in NHS maternity safety | Fieldfisher
Skip to main content

Government finally commits to long-awaited investment in NHS maternity safety

In this week's budget, the Government has finally announced an additional £35m specifically to improve maternity care in England.

Not surprisingly, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has welcomed the announcement and particularly the emphasis on training for midwives and other maternity staff.

Public perception of NHS maternity care is probably at an all-time low, following damning public enquiries into baby deaths at Nottingham and Shrewsbury and Telford trusts and a series of failing CQC ratings among other trusts.

We have long lobbied for better training for midwives in fundamental maternity care such as reading and interpreting CTC traces during labour, recognising obvious catastrophic bradycardia and signs of life-threatening issues such as eclampsia, as well as specialist knowledge around twins and breach births. 

This can only be achieved with the right training and equipment in every hospital and a support system to encourage best practices.

We also reported this week on issues raised during an All-Party Parliamentary Group investigation into birth trauma, which affects as many as one in three women in the UK.

In some it causes long-term PTSD, in others it discourages them from having another baby. In almost all instances, women affected cite not being able to access the care they need following a birth trauma and feeling as if they are not listened to during their labour by over-stretched maternity staff.

We know from first hand dealings with midwives that the safety of mothers and babies is their absolute priority but too many maternity staff are drowning in lack of resources and overwork which puts lives at risk and makes their jobs untenable. 

The RCM’s Chief Executive Gill Walton said she is 'delighted' that the Government is taking concrete action to make maternity safety a priority. She also said the most effective way of ensuring high-quality care is to properly look after existing maternity staff with better training and more flexible working opportunities. 

The knock-on effect will hopefully be to attract more desperately needed midwives back into the NHS and to encourage trainees to purse maternity careers.

You can read about our birth injury claims and hear from clients.