Almost a QUARTER of mothers claim poor NHS maternity care left them or their baby in danger
Almost one in four mums claim poor NHS maternity care left them or their baby in danger.
The findings, from a Mumsnet survey, follow a string of maternity scandals in which dozens of mums and babies have died or suffered severe harm.
Twenty-three per cent of mums quizzed believed that they or their baby were put at risk.
Almost a third of the 1,018 respondents said they hadn’t received all of the care they needed at birth.
Another 9 per cent felt their baby hadn’t received adequate support.
A quarter of mothers have said poor NHS maternity care left them or their baby in danger. According to a Mumsnet survey, 23 per cent of the mothers believed they or their baby had been put at risk, with a quarter describing the maternity care as ‘poor’ (file photo)
Some mums reported suffering terrifying flashbacks since their ordeal, while others have been diagnosed with PTSD.
The damning poll, conducted for The Times, echoes concerns raised by the Health Service Ombudsman in March which said that ‘women aren’t being listened to when they raise concerns about their pregnancies, babies, or their own health’.
‘Deplorable and harrowing’: The maternity scandals that rocked the NHS last year
The findings come in the wake of multiple damning reports into poor maternity care in England.
In October, a review into serious failings at East Kent Hospital Trust found that at least 45 babies died unnecessarily due to ‘catastrophic’ and ‘deep-rooted’ failures in care.
Affected families described being ‘disregarded, belittled and blamed’, with mothers left feeling like they were to blame for tragic incidents.
Dr Bill Kirkup, who led the inquiry, called for a new law so that organisations can be prosecuted if they stage cover-ups in future tragedies.
Meanwhile, a five-year inquiry, published in March last year, revealed 201 babies and nine mothers died needlessly during two decades of appalling care at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.
The inquiry examined cases involving 1,486 families, mostly from 2000 to 2019, and found ‘repeated errors in care’ had led to injury to either mothers or their babies.
Findings from another NHS maternity scandal are also likely be published in the next 18 months.
Ms Ockenden, the midwife behind the scathing report into Shrewsbury and Telford, is currently leading an investigation into reports of poor care of mothers and babies at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.
The new investigation launched in September and will examine events from April 2012 to the present day.
At least nine babies and three mothers are believed to have died over the past three years at the trust, which runs 15 hospitals in the Midlands.
The report warned even more mothers and babies will be harmed unless scandal-hit NHS maternity services are overhauled.
One mother in the Mumsnet survey stated she had suffered ‘long-term trauma’ since her baby’s birth after being refused an epidural, despite asking for one.
She told how she felt the hospital used her ‘as a guinea pig’ for medical students to do stitches — which she claimed were carried out without anaesthetic and without her consent.
‘It was barbaric and has put me off having another child,’ she added.
Another mum claimed she was ‘left alone’ and waited ‘too long’ for a C-section. Her previous scar ruptured and her son suffered a stroke during birth, leaving him with cerebral palsy.
One mother said she was denied pain relief as her medical notes were mixed up with those of a patient who had issues with substance abuse.
Almost two thirds of the women felt they weren’t listened to by health professionals, and when asked what would have made their experience better, one simply said: ‘Midwives with empathy.’
She claimed that the health professionals ‘hated their jobs’ and as a result ended up ‘bullying vulnerable women who had just given birth’.
Mumsnet founder and chief executive Justine Roberts told The Times that while maternity staff are ‘stretched to their limit’, there is a ‘cultural problem which sees women ignored and their concerns trivialised’.
Despite high-profile inquiries into maternity services across the country in recent years, the Health Service Ombudsman found earlier this year that mothers and babies are still being put at risk.
In 2015, the Morecambe Bay investigation found serious failings led to the deaths of a mother and 11 babies.
And systemic problems were also found at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, leading to the deaths of around 200 babies and nine mothers, and at East Kent Hospitals Trust – where at least 45 babies died ‘unnecessarily’.
There is also a further inquiry into maternity care at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust currently being carried out by midwifery expert Donna Ockenden, who led the review into Shrewsbury.
In their report, the Health Service Ombudsman’s office said that ‘if we do not start tackling these issues differently, there will be more tragedies’.