Mums told 'maternity services safe'

PUBLISHED: 10:11 29 January 2008 | UPDATED: 21:51 26 October 2009

Anna Walker

Anna Walker

MUMS should not be worried that maternity services are not safe, despite the lowest rating being dished out. Healthcare Commission chief executive Anna Walker sought to reassure patients after reports were published on Friday. Both the East and North Hert

MUMS should not be worried that maternity services are not safe, despite the lowest rating being dished out.

Healthcare Commission chief executive Anna Walker sought to reassure patients after reports were published on Friday.

Both the East and North Herts NHS Trust and Barnet and Chase Farm NHS Trust were ranked as 'least well performing' in the survey.

She said: "There have been serious concerns about maternity services. That is why we have carried out a wide-ranging review.

"But being put in the least well performing category does not mean that a service is unsafe.

"If we believed any unit to be unsafe, we would take immediate action to ensure patients were protected. We would not hesitate."

She said the purpose of the review was to encourage all trusts to perform to the best standards - and that those ranked as least well performing should "as a matter of urgency" take steps to improve.

The review was carried out last summer and assessed all 148 trusts providing a full maternity service in England.

It looked at the period from when a woman first contacts a maternity service to her final contact with a midwife, usually around 10 days after a birth.

The commission drew on a survey of over 26,000 mothers as well as data collected from trusts.

Mrs Walker said: "We have deliberately made the experience of women central to this review.

"The care given to women during pregnancy, birth and the time just after giving birth is extremely important to both the mother and the baby.

"It can have lasting negative effects if not handled correctly."

East and North Herts NHS Trust chief executive Nick Carver said the low rating for the QE2 and Lister hospitals was given using incorrect data.

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