Shetland’s maternity unit has had very postive reviews from patients questioned in a recent Scotland-wide survey, with three quarters of service users rating their experience as excellent.
The women were asked about several aspects of their experience including antenatal care, as well as care during labour and birth and postnatal.
NHS Shetland child and family health manager Kate Kenmure described the local results as “really encouraging”, with 74 per cent of women rating the care they received during pregnancy as excellent and 17 per cent rating it as good.
Most women reported that they had their first antenatal assessment visit by 12 weeks of pregnancy. However, only 60 per cent of women saw a midwife first when they thought that they were pregnant.
Ms Kenmure said: “We are continuing to publicise that women can self-refer directly to a midwife and do not need to see a GP.” All the women that took part in the questionnaire said they saw the same midwife at each antenatal appointment – the Scottish average is only 62 per cent.
The majority of women felt they were listened to, treated with dignity and respect and were involved in decision making during labour and birth, with 83 per cent of women rating their care during labour and birth as excellent and 13 per cent rating it as good.
Overall 74 per cent of women rated the care they received in hospital as excellent and 13 per cent rated it as good. When it came to care at home, 68 per cent rated the care they received as excellent, while 26 per cent rated it as good.
Ms Kenmure said: “This is a small snapshot of maternity service user experiences but it is important. The plan is to develop a local survey based on these questions to allow us to obtain women’s views and opinions on care in Shetland on a regular ongoing process.
“The maternity team will be examining the recommendations from the report and developing an action plan for further improvements. The areas within the survey that need action, such as ensuring mothers are given consistent advice on feeding their babies, will be taken forward.”
The questionnaire was undertaken as part of the Scottish government’s Patient Experience Programme in partnership with the Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions research unit to look at women’s experiences of maternity care in 2013.
The quality and safety of maternity services across the country are subject to scrutiny both at local and national level through the Scottish Patient Safety Programme, the Maternity and Children’s Quality Improvement Collaborative and through government targets.