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Safety of maternity services

The King’s Fund has today issued a call for evidence to an independent inquiry into the safety of maternity services in England. The year-long wait, wide-ranging investigation invites professionals across the field of maternity services to help identify obstacles to the delivery of improvements in the safety of maternity services and to propose strategies to overcome them.

Evidence will be taken in writing from professional bodies and people working in maternity services also have an opportunity to respond personally.

The inquiry will review all the currently published data, including reports dealing with deaths and complications around pregnancy and birth. The maternal mortality rate has fallen steadily from the 1930s to the 1980s. Since then, it has remained at the same level.

Baroness O’Neill said: “At present it is sometimes difficult for a woman with a straightforward pregnancy to work out whether it is safer to give birth in a hospital, in a midwife-led unit or at home. The inquiry will try to establish a stronger evidence base for decision making.”