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Harrowing accounts of birth trauma lead to MPs’ call for concerted action to improve maternity services

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.q1084 (Published 14 May 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q1084
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

The first ever parliamentary inquiry into birth trauma in the UK has found “shockingly poor quality” of care in a maternity system where overwork and understaffing are “endemic.”1

The inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Birth Trauma heard “harrowing accounts of stillbirth, premature birth, babies born with cerebral palsy caused by oxygen deprivation, and life-changing injuries to women as the result of severe tearing.” In many cases, the inquiry concluded, the “trauma was caused by mistakes and failure made before and after labour. Frequently, these errors were covered up by hospitals who frustrated parents’ efforts to find answers.”

The group, chaired by the Conservative MP Theo Clarke and co-chaired by the Labour MP Rosie Duffield, received more than 1300 submissions to its inquiry from parents who experienced traumatic births and nearly 100 submissions from maternity professionals, …

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