The Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) has published the results of the 2022 maternity survey which analysed the birthing experiences for pregnant people who gave birth during the period 1 February 2022 – 28 February 2022. The aim of this 2022 Maternity survey (“The Survey”) is to monitor the experiences of people giving birth to ensure accountability. The results are used by NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care (“DHSC”) for performance assessment, improvement and regulatory purposes.
How The Survey was collated?
The Survey invited people who had recently given birth to provide a response. The CQC collected responses from 20,927 women and other people who had given birth, which was a response rate 46.5%.
What does The Survey demonstrate?
At a national level The Survey shows that people’s experiences of care when giving birth have deteriorated in the last 5 years. The Survey used a method of trends analysis. The Survey relied on 26 evaluative questions asked yearly between the periods 2017-2022. Of these 26 questions, 1 showed a significant upward trend in experience, 4 showed no change over the years in experience, whilst 21 of the questions were answered with downward trends in peoples experience when giving birth. This makes The Survey results, the lowest point in the 5 year period 2017-2022. Some of the decline in birthing experience has been attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. It indicates that peoples experiences of maternity services have not yet returned to the satisfaction levels they were prior to the pandemic. The Survey outlined the following key areas for improvement:
- Women and other pregnant people were less likely to say they were ‘always’ able to get a member of staff to help them when they needed attention during labour and birth. The Survey recorded just 63% in 2022, this is lower than the 65% previously reported in 2021 and 72% reported in 2019.
- Just 45% of people said could ‘always’ get support or advice about feeding their baby during evenings, nights or weekends, a downward trend since 2017 where 56% of people reported being able to.
- Furthermore, just 69% of women and other pregnant people reported ‘definitely’ having confidence and trust in the staff delivering their antenatal care.
- Lastly, 59% of women and other pregnant people were always given the information and explanations they needed during their care in hospital, down from 66% in 2017.
The alarming concern for DHSC and NHS England will be the deteriorating downward trend in results which is occurring year on year.
How will The Survey results be used?
The results which are now collected will be essential for accountability for NHS England and further NHS improvement. The DHSC will also be provided with the results in order to identify and make the changes to ensure that peoples birthing experiences are improved.