Accessing Maternity Services during the COVID 19 pandemic

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Summary of report content

HW St Helens wanted to ask mothers-to-be or new mums who had used maternity services within St Helens and Knowsley Trust –notably Whiston Hospital. The range of questions covered care at all stages of pregnancy, from antenatal, labour and delivery, and neonatal.

The questions targeted expected service delivery such as information provided, birth partner allowed to attend scans and the birth, and emotional support. There was a total of 6 responses to the survey –3 from the WA10 area of St Helens and 3 from the WA11 area. All respondents were at their antenatal stage at the time of this survey.

All respondents felt the pandemic affected their maternity experiences – both positive and negative.

  • 4 felt they were fully informed at each stage but 2 did not. No reasons were given.
  • Birthing partners were not allowed to attend appointments or scans except for one woman who transferred to Ormskirk at 27 weeks and she was the only respondent whose partner could attend 2 scans due to complications with the pregnancy.
  • Not having a partner present at the scan was traumatic for one woman who was carrying twins and was alone when she was told her pregnancy was no longer viable.
  • Two women were not given a choice about where and how they could birth their babies, due to medical reasons (not related to COVID-19).
  • The emotional support was positive particularly for the women who had complications during their pregnancy, and especially if they had to be alone without a partner present.
  • The midwife, consultant, community midwife and staff on FMAU staff were described as reassuring.
  • One woman told HW St Helens she was offered mental health support throughout.
  • One woman told HW St Helens she felt reassured throughout the pregnancy.

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General details

Report title 
Accessing Maternity Services during the COVID 19 pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch St Helens
Date of publication 
Friday, 30 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 April, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 30 April, 2021
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Holistic support
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Support

Methodology and approach

Primary research method used 
Survey

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 
Maternity

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
6
Does the information include public's views? 
Yes
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Negative

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
No

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
 
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
 
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.