The results of the largest-ever survey of maternity services in the UK shows North Devon offering some of the highest quality of care in the South West.
The NHS watchdog body, the Healthcare Commission, surveyed 26,000 women who had given birth in February 2007 about the quality of care during and after pregnancy.
Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) and local community services, was one of more than 140 NHS trusts across the country to take part.
For one result NDDH scored highest in the country, with 78% of women feeling that they had been given enough information to make informed choices about their care during pregnancy.
The other headline figures for North Devon show that:
- 94% said they were given a choice about where to have baby (81% national average)
- 91% said they were given the choice of having baby at home (57% nat. av)
- 78% felt they got enough information from their GP or midwife (51% nat. av)
- 89% attended antenatal classes (61% nat. av)
- 96% felt involved in the decisions that were made about their care (67% nat. av)
- 88% reported that the hospital was ‘very’ clean and 11% ‘fairly’ clean (63% and 33% nat. av respectively)
- 76% got pain relief when needed (64% nat. av)
- 82% had confidence and trust in the staff caring for them during labour (68% nat. av)
- 86% felt they were treated with respect (79% nat. av)
- 87% felt they were treated with kindness (77% nat. av)
Julia Drury, the Trust’s Head of Midwifery, said: “These are fantastic results. The midwifery and obstetric team work very hard and are incredibly dedicated to the women they care for, so it’s really gratifying to see that mums in North Devon are reporting such high standards. Now we’ll be aiming to build on the great majority of things we do well and tackle the more disappointing areas.”
Seamus Eckford, Consultant Obstetrician and Clinical Lead for Maternity Services, said: “We’d like to thank all the women who took the trouble to fill in the forms and help us improve the service. The results suggest that women and babies in North Devon are in the very best hands.”
Only in a handful of areas did the Trust come out below the national average. For example:
- 32% of women said they had not had enough to eat during their stay (22% nationally); this is already being addressed
- 20% felt their stay in hospital was too short (12%), despite the fact that more women than the national average stayed at least five days
- 80% thought ante-natal classes were at a convenient time of day (86%)
- 31% had a caesarean section (24%), though this appears to have been an unusual month – the overall rate for the whole of 2006 was 25%