Summary of report content
The Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Local Maternity System (BOB LMS) asked local Healthwatch to gather views about care planning during pregnancy, birth and after birth. The local Healthwatch involved were Healthwatch Bucks, Healthwatch Oxfordshire, Healthwatch Reading, Healthwatch West Berkshire and Healthwatch Wokingham Borough. An online survey was developed in partnership with the BOB LMS and Maternity Voices Partnership alongside feedback from antenatal groups. A total of 1664 women completed the survey.
It was found that the majority of women reported having made choices about their care plan and the delivery of their baby. It was also found that women had a mixed response to birth plans as similar proportions reported that they found birth plans helpful or unhelpful, and others said they didn't have one at all. It was suggested that a personalised care plan should include a presentation of choices, such as birthing options, cultural customs and partner involvement, as well as post-natal care, breastfeeding information and mental health support. Furthermore, respondents wanted a choice of paper and electronic formats. Most of those who wanted both a paper and electronic record said that they wanted to know who had looked at their plan.
A number of recommendations were made whereby the BOB LMS use the results to inform the format and content of the personalised care plan in the STP area; a new plan be piloted with a representative group of women across the area; and that each local maternity service review feedback of the pilot to improve the services.