The majority of women in the UK who gave birth in February last year were positive about the maternity care they received. But the impact of the pandemic has led to poorer experiences for some, and exacerbated concerns around the quality of postnatal care, according to a national survey by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The findings of CQC’s 2021 maternity survey capture the views of more than 23,000 women who gave birth during February 2021 – when the country was in the middle of its third national COVID-19 lockdown. The survey asked those women about all aspects of their maternity care experience from the first time they saw a clinician or midwife, during labour and birth, through to the care provided at home in the weeks following the arrival of their baby.
The survey was introduced to the CQC’s National Health Service (NHS) patient survey programme in 2007, but in 2021 – for the first time – respondents were able to complete the questionnaire online as well as by post leading to a substantial increase in response rate from 36% in 2019 to 52% in 2021, with 89% of women taking part online.
This is the eighth survey of its kind that CQC has carried out to help trusts better understand the experiences of women using maternity services and involved 122 NHS acute trusts. The results are used by CQC as part of its wider monitoring of hospital services.