Parents praise RUH maternity care.

[The RUH’s Bath Birthing Centre team]

Seems expectant parents are very pleased with the care they have been receiving from maternity teams at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust – according to the latest national Care Quality Commission (CQC) survey.

The results of the National Maternity Survey 2021, published this week by the CQC, show the RUH as scoring better than most others in a number of aspects. These include whether parents felt they had confidence and trust in the team providing care during labour and birth, whether enough information was provided to help parents decide where to have their baby, being offered a choice about where to have their baby and whether they felt involved in decisions about antenatal care.

The RUH also scored better for doctors and midwives being aware of the woman or birthing person’s medical history, and for skin-to-skin contact with babies shortly after birth.

The survey, which went to those who gave birth in February 2021, looked at the whole experience of maternity care, from antenatal appointments through to giving birth and postnatal care. There were no areas where the RUH scored worse than most other trusts.

Director of Midwifery & Deputy Chief Nurse Sarah Merritt said: “More than 4,400 babies are born at the RUH every year, in Bath Birthing Centre, our community units or at home, so in the midst of the pandemic our services were still very much needed.

“We are very proud of the care we provide and we are delighted to receive this positive feedback. Thank you to all the families who took the time to share their experiences in the survey.

“Safety precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic have meant, like all Trusts, we have had to make some changes to how we care for women and birthing people, their babies, and their families. This has been challenging for everyone. However, we have been working really hard to ensure we continue to provide a high standard of personalised, supportive care, and we are really pleased to see this reflected.

“Recent improvements include introducing continuity of carer teams so that women and birthing people have a named midwife with the support of a small team, who work together to provide care during pregnancy, birth and beyond.

“There is always room for improvement so we will be listening to the results, and other feedback methods, as we continue to make the care provided at the RUH and our community hubs and birthing centres exceptional.”

Like other trusts, the 2021 survey saw the RUH score much lower than the previous 2019 survey for whether birthing partners were able to stay in the hospital as much as the woman or birthing person wanted. This is due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions at the time of the survey, during the third national lockdown in February 2021. However, many of these restrictions have now been lifted.

The RUH maternity service has an exciting year ahead as work continues towards providing an alongside midwifery unit at the Combe Park site. This will provide families with even more choice on where to give birth. Plans for the year ahead also include the expansion of our continuity of carer teams, to offer this model to even more families.