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Trusts “fail on maternity safety”


29 February, 2008  

Some NHS trusts are failing to focus on maternity and safety issues and are creating unnecessary risks to prospective mothers, according to a new report.

The study found that most maternity units do not have enough midwives to offer one-to-one care, and that there is a lack of team-working and even rivalry between midwives and obstetricians.

Submitting evidence to the report, the British Association of Perinatal Medicine (BAPM) detailed one unit “where obstetricians were able to enter a midwife-led birthing unit only if expressly invited by midwives”.

Midwives are forced to spend too much time on paperwork and other tasks due to a lack of clerical staff. This results in care being diverted away from mothers, the study commissioned by the King’s Fund health charity states.

The study also indicates that there are often inadequate numbers of staff with the right skills on duty.

But figures show that stillbirth rates have remained virtually unchanged for more than a decade, at 5.4 per 1,000 births.

And infant death rates have fallen over the same period since the mid-1990s, from 6.1 per 1,000 live births in 1996 to 4.8 per 1,000 in 2006.

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