Birth Trauma Inquiry Report, Whats Next?

Last month, the UK Government published the findings from the Birth Trauma Inquiry which outlines a series of recommendations to address specific issues within the UK's maternity and postnatal care services. 

So, what is next for you, how might this impact the maternity services within your organisation and what are the potential risks of inaction against the findings of this crucial report? 

The Birth Trauma Report 

The aim of this first national inquiry was to investigate the underlying causes of birth trauma.  It looked at the reasons why women experience birth trauma, how the condition affects them, the wider social impact and the steps we can take to prevent birth trauma. 

The inquiry received over 1,300 submissions from individuals who had undergone traumatic birth experiences, along with nearly 100 submissions from maternity professionals. 

Within its foreword, there are 12 key recommendations that aim to address the problems highlighted in the report and work towards a maternity system that is woman-centred and where poor care is the exception rather than the rule. These recommendations range from staff training and retention to patient treatment and procedure reviews. 

So, what is next for your services?  

The next steps for your maternity services involve crucially ensuring that the recommendations are not only acknowledged but also embraced to achieve a tangible change to the delivery of care to women. This necessitates not only supporting the proposed changes but also cultivating a culture of transformative change aimed at implementing the report's recommendations effectively. 

The recommendations found on page six and seven of the report include:  

Staffing & Training: Recruit, train, retain 

Mental Health Services: Universal access 

Post-Delivery Check: Specific questions on mental health 

OASI Care Bundle: Roll out, implement 

Birth Reflections: Nationwide rollout 

Education on Birth Choices 

Respect Choices, Pain Relief 

Support for Fathers 

Continuity of Care: Digitisation of records 

Legal Time Limit: Extend 

Address Inequalities: Ethnic minorities 

Economic Impact Research 

What are the risks of inaction?  

For NHS trusts, the risks of inaction in response to the recommendations outlined by the Birth Trauma Inquiry are significant and multifaceted. Failure to address staffing and training shortages could result in compromised patient safety and quality of care, leading to an increase in adverse events during childbirth. 

More crucially, without action, many women will continue to suffer unnecessarily, enduring preventable physical and psychological harm as a result of childbirth. 

How is it CHKS can help?  

The CHKS Assurance & Accreditation programme is based on a framework of evidence-based best practice standards which when implemented support the organisation on a quality improvement journey. An accreditation programme can be instrumental in helping your organisation’s maternity department implement the government inquiry’s recommendations, including adoption of best practice standards, fostering staff engagement, and cultivating a safer and more supportive culture.  

Through accreditation, an NHS Trust / organisation can systematically assess, navigate and improve their maternity services, ensuring that they adhere to recognised standards of quality and safety.  

In addition, the accreditation programme provides a methodology for staff to actively participate in the improvement process, foster a sense of ownership and commit to delivering compassionate services and excellent patient outcomes.  

Read the full report here: https://www.theo-clarke.org.uk/sites/www.theo-clarke.org.uk/files/2024-05/Birth%20Trauma%20Inquiry%20Report%20for%20Publication_May13_2024.pdf 

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