Southampton's maternity services among country's top performers

New mums have rated Southampton's Princess Anne Hospital and the New Forest Birth Centre among the country’s top performers in a national survey on the quality of maternity services in England.

As part of the Care Quality Commission’s annual maternity survey, which was published last month, patients gave feedback on their labour and birth, how staff interacted and communicated with them and their care on the wards after birth.

Their responses, which resulted in better than average scores for involvement in decisions during labour and birth (9/10) and respect and dignity (9.5/10), placed University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust third out of 64 hospital trusts.

The service also scored highly for skin to skin contact with their baby shortly after birth (9.3/10), partner involvement (9.5/10) and confidence and trust in the staff caring for them during labour and birth (9.1/10), while women also praised staff response time during labour (9.2/10) and clear communication (9.5/10).

The Princess Anne Hospital and the New Forest Birth Centre provide maternity care and a choice of birthing options – including home birth – for around 6,000 women a year from Southampton and its surrounding areas.

PAH is also a regional centre for fetal and maternal medicine, providing specialist care for women with medical problems during pregnancy and for those who need extra care before or around birth.

Overall, a total of 20,631 women participated in the survey, which showed an increase nationally in the number of women who said they were always treated with dignity and respect during labour and birth.

In addition, more women said they were offered a choice of giving birth in a midwife led unit or birth centre and said they felt they were “always” given the information or explanations they needed whilst in hospital and after the birth of their baby.

Maria Dore, head of midwifery at UHS, said: “We are delighted with the results of this survey, which show we are continuing to improve the experience and quality of care women receive in our services.

“The maternity environment can be a very intense and highly-pressurised place to be, so it is extremely rewarding for all of our staff – not just midwives – to see patients reporting really positively about us.”

The maternity service has extended the opportunities for patients to provide feedback 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.

Any women who have recently used or are currently using maternity services at UHS can leave feedback by registering at

Posted on Tuesday 5 January 2016