The latest National Maternity and Perinatal Audit (NMPA) report has been published today which provides a snapshot of NHS maternity and neonatal services in England, Scotland and Wales.
The report maps services, staffing and facilities across all hospital trusts and health boards as of January 2018.
Improvements have been made in some services and facilities since the last report two years ago, but variation still remains across the three countries.
The report shows how maternity and neonatal services have changed since the last survey in January 2017. It also outlines where services have improved and where further work is needed to meet national guidance and recommendations.
It is a led by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), in collaboration with the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Royal College of Child Health and Paediatrics (RCPCH), and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). Sands is part of the advisory group for the study.
Sands welcomes this continuing high quality scrutiny of the services available in maternity and neonatal care.
Clea Harmer, Chief Executive at Sands, said: “We are pleased that maternity services are making continuous efforts to improve and implement recommendations from recent reviews and initiatives.
“In particular, we welcome the increase in access to specialist bereavement support from a midwife. But there is still further to go before this essential support is available to all bereaved families.
“We are concerned about the lack of improvement, and indeed in some areas worsening access to services to support women with smoking cessation, when we know that for women who smoke, quitting is the single most effective thing they can do to reduce their risk of stillbirth.
“Stillbirth risk is higher amongst obese women, so it’s worrying to see no improvement in availability of services to support pregnant women with weight management.
“Investment in these services will not only support women to be as healthy as possible before, during and after pregnancy, but give their babies the best possible start in life, and save money in the long term by preventing future health problems.
“When women are expected to make important decisions about their health and care, it’s surprising that only 1 in 5 women have access to their own medical records. Sands knows that communication and information sharing across the care pathway is key to improving women’s experience of care.
“Maternity and neonatal service provision is improving in a number of important areas, but still faces ongoing challenges to ensure that all women and families receive safe, personalised care.”