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July 2021

July 6, 2021

NMC response to the Health and Social Care Committee’s report on the Safety of Maternity Services in England

On Tuesday 6 July, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) published their response to the Health and Social Care Committee’s report on the Safety of Maternity Services in England. You can view the Committee’s report here

The Health and Social Care Committee’s report outlines that whilst the NHS offers some of the safest maternal and neonatal outcomes in the world, there remains worrying variation in the quality of maternity care which means that the safe delivery of a healthy baby is not experienced by all mothers. 

Since shocking failures were uncovered at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust there has been a concerted effort to improve the safety of maternity services in England. However, major concerns have since been raised at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust. There can be no complacency when it comes to improving the safety of maternity services and it is imperative that lessons are learnt from patient safety incidents. 

The report addresses the following issues related to maternity safety in England: 

·         Supporting maternity services and staff to deliver safe maternity care 

·         Learning from patient safety incidents 

·         Providing safe and personalised care for all mothers and babies

The key points of the NMC response are:

The impact of poor maternity care on women and their families can be devastating. But such dreadful experiences are not inevitable. As the Committee highlights, all of us working in maternity services need to focus on delivering positive and sustainable improvements necessary to deliver safe, kind and effective care every time.

As the professional regulator for key members of the maternity multi-disciplinary team, the NMC has an important role to play, particularly in supporting the implementation of our Future Midwife standards in midwifery education and practice.

We welcome the Committee’s recommendation that we should focus on helping to end the blame culture. We will always act to protect the public where necessary, but professionals must feel confident about speaking up when mistakes happen so they don’t happen again. Our new approach to fitness to practise and the promise of regulatory reform mean we can do just that.

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