CQC Finds 2 in 3 Maternity Units are not safe enough

Two in three maternity units in England are not safe enough, according to the latest figures from the Care Quality Commission. Officials ranked 67 per cent of services as either 'inadequate' or 'requires improvement', up from 55 per cent.

Who are the CQC?

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is an independent regulator of health and social care services in England. It’s a government agency established under the Health and Social Care Act 2008. The primary role of the CQC is to ensure that healthcare and social care services provided to the public meet essential standards of quality and safety.


Maternity Services Inspection

In 2022, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) initiated a comprehensive national inspection of maternity services in England. As part of this initiative, they assessed a total of 133 maternity services across the country. Out of these, 56 services have received ratings under the CQC scheme so far.

These ratings are crucial for expectant parents and the wider healthcare community as they provide insights into the quality of care and services offered by maternity units. The ratings typically range from “Outstanding” to “Inadequate” and are based on various criteria, including safety, effectiveness, caring, responsiveness, and leadership.

For expectant parents, having access to this information can be invaluable when making decisions about where to receive maternity care. It allows them to make informed choices and ensures that they receive the best possible care during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.

It’s important to stay updated on these CQC ratings as they can help expectant parents and healthcare providers alike in ensuring the highest standards of maternity care across England.


What can you do?

If you are an expectant parent reading this, you can indeed take an active role in managing your prenatal care and birth experience. Here are some ways in which you can do so:

    1. Consider who is providing your care: Standalone birth centres (free) Doulas (paid) and private midwives (paid) could be options to consider. Carefully select professionals who align with your preferences for your care. Consider their approach to pregnancy and childbirth, and don’t hesitate to seek a second opinion if needed.

    2. Educate Yourself: Knowledge is empowering. Take the time to educate yourself about pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum care. Attend antenatal classes or use online resources like PregnaHub® to learn more about what to expect.

    3. Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, staying physically active (with your healthcare provider’s guidance), and avoiding harmful substances like smoking and excessive alcohol. The PregnaHub® provides weekly yoga, pilates and aerobics classes to support your physical health throughout your pregnancy.

    4. Ask Questions: During midwife appointments, ask questions and express any concerns you may have. Understanding your care plan and the reasoning behind it is essential for informed decision-making. If you find yourself short on time, ask our midwives your questions on the PregnaHub® at any time.

    5. Know your Birth Preferences: Consider creating a birth plan that outlines your preferences for labour and birth. While flexibility is crucial, having preferences can help you communicate your wishes to the healthcare team. We provide templates and help you to complete them on our Mindful Natal® courses.

    6. Seek Emotional Support: Pregnancy can bring about a range of emotions. Build a support system of family, friends, and support groups. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you experience anxiety or depression.

    7. Prepare for Labour: Practice relaxation techniques, breathing exercises, and other comfort measures that can help during labour. Consider enrolling in antenatal classes that include hypnobirthing to learn valuable relaxation techniques.

    8. Postpartum Care: Be aware that your care doesn’t end after childbirth. Postpartum care is essential. Familiarise yourself with the signs of postpartum complications and know when to seek medical help.

    9. Advocate for Yourself: Be your own advocate. If you feel something does not feel right or have concerns about your care, don’t hesitate to voice them and seek a second opinion if necessary. Having a birth partner who is confident to advocate for you is key too.

    10. Stay Informed: Stay updated on the latest research by taking an antenatal course that keeps their content updated. Being informed empowers you to make informed decisions.

We are here for you every step of the way with the PregnaHub® and Mindful Natal® courses.

Up next

Private midwives in the UK: A Guide for Expectant Parents

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Sign up for the FREE ‘Preparing to give birth with the NHS’ recorded workshop

Includes a 30 minute video workshop and printable checklist to help you to prepare for giving birth within a stretched maternity care system. Find out more here or complete the form to register: