City's maternity services record high scores in first national survey

Pregnant women and mothers have rated Southampton's Princess Anne Hospital among the top performers in NHS England's first Friends and Family Test (FFT) for maternity services.

An average of 94% of patients who gave feedback on antenatal, labour ward or birthing unit and postnatal ward care between October and December said they were 'extremely likely' or 'likely' to recommend the services they used.

Although the FFT was introduced for hospital inpatients and emergency departments in April, these are the first results to incorporate maternity services.

Of the 139 women questioned on the quality of antenatal treatment over the three-month period, 70% said they were 'extremely likely' to recommend staff and facilities to family and friends and 26% ‘likely’, while almost three-quarters (72%) of 135 patients who submitted feedback on the labour ward at PAH and the birthing unit at the New Forest Birth Centre were 'extremely likely' to recommend and 21% 'likely'.

In addition, of 134 patients asked if they would recommend postnatal services, 63% answered ‘extremely likely’ and 31% 'likely'.

At University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Princess Anne Hospital and New Forest Birth Centre, midwives have since extended the test further through the development of a website and mobile phone app to ask about patient experiences with ultrasound, feeding support and telephone contact during early labour.

Maria Dore, head of midwifery at UHS, said: “We are all really pleased about some of the excellent feedback we've received from patients in the first three months of this assessment, but we now want to get many more women participating so we can increase the number of people commenting about our services.

“Maternity services can be extremely pressurised and difficult environments at times, so it is testament to the quality of our team that the large majority of patients in our first FFT have reported really positive experiences with us.”

Dr Catherine Calderwood, NHS England’s national clinical director for maternity and women’s health, welcomed the extension of FFT to maternity services, and added: “Maternity staff work hard to provide excellent services for women across the NHS and the FFT provides an additional opportunity to capture feedback relating to maternity services.

“It builds on the culture of responsiveness to women’s experiences of care in real time, encouraging swift interventions when required, as well as providing positive feedback for staff when things go well which is vital for morale.”

Any women who have recently used or are currently using maternity services at UHS can leave feedback by registering at www.pulse-dynamics.co.uk/myopinionmaternity.

Posted on Friday 7 February 2014