MATERNITY services in south Warwickshire are some of the worst in the country according to recent figures.
The rankings by NHS England place South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) in the bottom ten worst for maternity services.
The ratings examined areas including stillbirth, maternal smoking at the time of delivery, women’s experiences and choice.
South Warwickshire CCG – which oversees community services in the area – say they are working to make improvements including investing £4million into care for expectant mothers.
Most of the services under that umbrella are provided by South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) which runs Warwick Hospital and community midwifery.
A CCG spokesman told the Observer: “The ratings help us identify where we are doing well and importantly where improvements can be made.
“SWFT is the main provider of maternity services to mothers in South Warwickshire and we continue to work closely with them to make improvements.
“The CCG has also spent an extra £4million in maternity services since 2014. This, alongside the planned changes, will deliver a significant improvement in the service delivered to local women and we expect the next survey to reflect the significant work and investment made by both organisations.
“We can confirm that the midwife to birth ratio has increased during the past few months as SWFT has recruited more midwives.”
In a bid to improve services, the trust has introduced antenatal clinics in Alcester and Shipston and are even looking at creating a midwife-led unit at Warwick Hospital.
A spokeswoman from SWFT said: “The ranking is made up from four elements, two of these relate to commissioner level data on still births/neo-natal deaths and smoking in pregnancy and we are not an outlier in either of these areas. In particular we have one of the lowest rates of women smoking in pregnancy.
“The other two elements link to a national survey that was completed last year and the focus is on experience and choice. We are aware that choice is limited for women in South Warwickshire as currently we do not have a midwifery led unit, however we are progressing plans to put one in place. The trust has also put in place additional antenatal clinics in Alcester and Shipston to enhance women’s choice of care. There are always areas where we can improve on women’s experience of the unit and the team spend a lot of time reviewing feedback to implement changes, working closely with the maternity forum and local mother groups.”
The ratings identified the best and worst areas for maternity services. South Warwickshire was joined in the bottom ten with areas including Wolverhampton, Bradford and Nottingham.
The UK has higher rates of stillbirth than Poland, Croatia and Estonia, and compensation claims against the NHS for childbirth blunders have tripled in a decade.
And NHS England say more can be done, but that the ratings only provide an outline of services and does not show the overall quality of maternity services within the CCG area.
Maternity director Dr Matthew Jolly said: “It has never been safer to give birth in this country and the vast majority of women report a good experience, but there is more that we can do.
“The ratings will help local areas identify where they are doing well and importantly where improvements can be made – helping to ensure women and their families have a good experience wherever they live.”