A report published by the Royal College of Midwives and published on 29 August 2014 has found that over a third (40%) of women were discharged from hospital before they were ready. Of concern the report highlights that women are not getting the postnatal care recommended by NICE. It further concluded that there was a lack of continuity of care leading to poorer care for both the women and their babies.
The NICE guidelines recommends that the ‘length of stay in a maternity unit should be discussed between individual woman and their healthcare professional, taking into account the health and well-being of the woman and her baby and the level of support available following discharge.’
A survey was carried out on 2,213 midwives, 950 student midwives and 98 maternity support workers in September and November 2013 which found that postnatal visits were determined by organisational pressures rather than the needs of the new mothers.
The report also highlights concerns of women who participated through the Netmums website with 486 women responding to the survey.
Cathy Warwick; Chief Executive of Royal College of Midwives, said ‘The continuing shortage of midwives particularly in postnatal care and the need to ensure cover for women in labour means that organisational needs are preventing midwives giving care based clinical need and women are not getting the best postnatal care.’
She also added that, ‘We are seeing women being discharged earlier without adequate support. This leads to readmissions later on and more cost to the NHS. This is a false economy. It is not good for women and babies and it is not good for the NHS.’
The report is part of the Royal College of Midwives ‘Pressure Points’ postnatal care campaign focusing on the importance of high quality care after pregnancy.
If new mothers are discharged from hospital too soon they often feel isolated and dissatisfied with the care which they received, which in turn can lead to complaints to the NHS which otherwise may have been avoided if appropriate postnatal care and support were in place.
If you have any concerns in respect of the birth of your child or postnatal care received please contact Kerry Fifield.