Maternity Voices: Experiences of Maternity Services in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire during the Covid-19 pandemic

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Summary of report content

This report presents the experiences of women who used maternity services in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) organised a focus group in January 2021 and a survey in February 2021, to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions in maternity care impacted on pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period.

  • Over 75% of women in the focus group and online survey did not have to change their birth plan or place of birth due to COVID-19 restrictions, with over 65% of women reporting that the care they received was very good or good.
  • People told the MVP that COVID-19 restrictions on appointments for routine check-ups, partners not being able to attend appointments, partners not being present throughout the whole process of labour and, finally, very limited visiting hours, all had a negative impact on women’s experiences of maternity care.
  • Lack of clear information on what was and was not allowed, as well as constantly changing guidelines, compounded what was already a stressful experience for every family. These factors resulted in higher levels of anxiety during pregnancy, especially where women had had a previous miscarriage or complications, or where this was their first baby.
  • There were fewer face-to-face appointments either during pregnancy or postnatally. Replacement telephone calls often did not meet women’s requirements, resulting in mental and physical needs being missed.
  • Staffing levels and over-stretched staff were noticed and reported by women, particularly in post-delivery wards.
  • Women with existing mental health conditions felt unsupported, reporting a lack of provision of appropriate services for them.

Healthwatch have made recommendations tailored to each of three hospitals in this report - Nottingham City Hospital, Queens Medical Centre and King’s Mill Hospital.

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General details

Report title 
Maternity Voices: Experiences of Maternity Services in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire during the Covid-19 pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Nottinghamshire
Date of publication 
Friday, 17 December, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 1 January, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Sunday, 28 February, 2021
Key themes 
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Consent to care and treatment
Continuity of care
Digitalisation of services
Health protection
Holistic support
Information providing
Quality of appointment
Quality of care
Staff attitudes
Staff levels

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
The Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP)
Primary research method used 
Focus group
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 
Community services 
Community health care services - independent midwives

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
16-17 years
All people 18 and over
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? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
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? 

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.