Maternity Services Report 2019

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Warrington undertook research into maternity services and the experiences of women from Warrington who have recently given birth. The project looked at the information and support that women were given before and after the births of their babies.  They did a survey to which they had 40 responses and collected 5 detailed case studies.


Overall, people’s experience was largely positive and there were examples of good practice around support by professionals in the community before and after the birth of their babies as well as positive experiences within the hospital.

Most respondents felt that they had good advice to have a healthy pregnancy. Some respondents would have liked more information on what to expect after they returned home with their baby and how to care for their baby at home.

Whilst feedback about midwives both in the community and in the hospital was generally positive it was clear from feedback that having continuity of a midwife could make a positive difference to the experience of the expectant mother.

Having a choice of where they gave birth led to a positive experience.  Women said that it gave them control and helped them to feel relaxed. However, those who did not feel they had a choice also said that they did not feel it had made a difference to their experience.

Having a birth plan was a matter of choice and not all the respondents had one. Having a discussion on the pros and cons of having a birth plan with a professional seemed to have helped the decision making for some.

Most respondents to the survey felt that they had been treated with dignity and respect, however one respondent to the survey and one of the case study participants shared stories about a breakdown in dignity and the impact that this had on them. This suggests that there are occasions where staff need to have more consideration about the way that they work and interact with expectant mothers to ensure that their dignity is maintained.

The way that the fathers of babies are treated and included was an issue for a small number of respondents. Whilst it was generally felt that partners, families and friends were treated with respect there were suggestions for improvement in the way that fathers were interacted with as well as the facilities that are available to them on the ward.

Although feedback about their experiences at the hospital and on the labour ward was positive, some of the respondents to the survey felt that there could have been better care and communication in some circumstances. This included checking if mothers who had recently given birth needed pain relief or refreshments when they were being moved from ward to ward at different times of the day. Being provided with refreshments after the birth of their baby was a particularly positive experience and the lack of it as an area for improvement. Whilst this may seem to be a relatively small thing to the staff it can make a positive difference to the experience of a patient.

One of the key areas suggested for improvement by respondents was around the provision of support with feeding whilst in hospital. It was felt that there should be more in hospital for all mothers who wanted it, regardless of whether it was their first child or not.


There were five recommendations on:

  • Continuity of midwives
  • Dignity and respect
  • Fathers
  • Advice and guidance on feeding
  • Further collection of feedback


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General details

Report title 
Maternity Services Report 2019
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Warrington
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 7 January, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 1 May, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Saturday, 31 August, 2019
Type of report 
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Consent to care and treatment
Quality of care
Quality of staffing
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
User stories
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Secondary care services 

Details about conditions and diseases

Conditions or diseases 
Fertility, pregnancy and childbirth
What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 
New mothers

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
Mixed / multiple ethnic groups
Sexual orientation 
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

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.