Staffing and poor team work are letting maternity services down, says report

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 10 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a762
  1. Adrian O’Dowd
  1. 1Margate

    Consultant obstetricians are failing to spend enough time on labour wards, a report from the NHS watchdog says. The Healthcare Commission has published a national report on maternity services after a review of 150 NHS trusts in England.

    The report says that although women are generally positive, the NHS has to improve maternity services. Consultants’ presence in labour wards is too low, according to the report, because they are spending more time on other duties, including gynaecological work.

    Safer Childbirth, published by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists last year, recommends that labour wards should have 40 hours a week with a consultant present or 60 in larger units.

    However, only 68% of trusts reported meeting this standard, and some …

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