Pregnant women and mothers rate hospitals highly

Birth centre manager Carol Dyson (left) and head of midwifery Julie Walker at Bradford Royal infirmary’s midwife-led maternity unit

Birth centre manager Carol Dyson (left) and head of midwifery Julie Walker at Bradford Royal infirmary’s midwife-led maternity unit

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford Chief Reporter

Feedback from thousands of pregnant women and mothers about NHS-funded maternity services has been published for the first time, with those at Bradford Royal Infirmary and Airedale Hospital being rated highly.

Since October 1, 2013, NHS England has been asking the Friends and Family Test (FFT) question in every NHS-funded maternity unit across the country.

The FFT test, where patients are asked if they would recommend the same service to a friend or family member, is already an integral part of A&E and acute in-patient units, giving patients the opportunity to have their say and help shape better NHS services.

It was announced by the Prime Minister in January 2012.

Now, three months of feedback from maternity units has been gathered and analysed and the latest data published on the NHS Choices website.

The information will provide a base line so local people will be able to track improvements in their local maternity services.

Women were asked up to four questions at three stages during their pregnancy, seeking feedback about antenatal services, the labour ward/birthing unit or home birth services, the post-natal ward and the post-natal community services.

Based on the response, each Trust receives a FFT score between -100 and 100. The overall score for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs BRI, for all four questions was 70.25, while Airedale’s score was 81.75.

Out of 140 women, 112 said they were very likely to recommend the Bradford Trust’s labour ward, birthing unit or homebirth service. For Airedale NHS Trust, 37 out of 45 mums who responded said they were highly likely to recommend the service.

About 6,000 babies are born each year at BRI, which opened a new £1.2 million birth centre a year ago. A £2 million neo-natal unit expansion is due to open in April.

Julie Walker, head of midwifery at the Bradford Trust, said: “Our first overall scores are really positive and provide us with constructive and encouraging feedback which supports the work that we are doing to continuously improve our services.

“The responses provided in the Friends and Family Test, alongside other surveys that we conduct, give us the ideal opportunity to respond to women’s experiences in real time.”

At Airedale General Hospital about 2,400 babies are born each year.

Rob Dearden, director of nursing at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Comments and scores for various stages of maternity care are rapidly available to our maternity team, so practical action can be taken to address problems that concern new and expectant mums, while positive comments are very important in maintaining the morale of hard-working staff.

“From ward to board, colleagues can look at the results of the Friends and Family Test and better understand how our maternity services are experienced by mothers and how they can make improvements.”

A spokesman for Healthwatch Bradford and District, which speaks to patients about their experiences, said: “It is reassuring that many people have reported good experiences in maternity services. It is vital that health and social care services listen, learn, and act on the feedback they

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