Cumbria Crack

National survey shows North Cumbria maternity units performing ‘better than expected’

Cumberland Infirmary maternity unit staff

[T]he Care Quality Commission (CQC) has today (30 January 2018) published results of a national maternity survey which shows North Cumbria University Hospital Trust’s (NCUH) maternity departments have performed ‘better than expected’.

The survey looks at trusts nationwide and the experiences of 18,426 women who gave birth during February 2017. It asked women about their experiences of care during labour and birth, as well as the quality of antenatal and postnatal support received. The survey is conducted every two years, the previous one being in 2015, and it scores each Trust as either ‘better than expected’, ‘worse than expected’ or ‘about the same’.

The maternity survey shows that NCUH’s three maternity departments – Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle; West Cumberland Hospital, Whitehaven; and the birthing centre at Penrith Community Hospital – have all been rated as ‘better than expected’. They have demonstrated significant improvements in–

  • Asking about the emotional wellbeing of pregnant women during their pregnancy
  • Ensuring that, during labour, staff stayed with women and their birthing partners as much as possible in their times of worry
  • Ensuring new mothers are given the information and explanations they needed following the birth of their baby.

The survey also showed that –

  • 95% of women were given the advice needed when contacting their midwife about a concern during pregnancy
  • 89% of women who raised concerns during labour felt they were taken seriously
  • 91% of women felt they were involved in their care during labour
  • 93% of patients were able to get help from staff in a reasonable amount of time during their labour
  • 90% of women felt they were given active support and encouragement by midwives about feeding their baby

The survey also looked at how the Trust is performing against the national average. It found that NCUH is performing above the national average in 12 areas, including: ensuring women can contact a midwife during pregnancy; giving appropriate advice and support when contacting the maternity unit when in labour; allowing women to move around freely during labour; treating new mothers with kindness and understanding; and ensuring mothers could easily contact their midwife after going home with their baby.

NCUH is not performing below the national average in any areas.

Alison Atkinson-Budd, who is the Trust’s new Associate Director of Midwifery, said: “This is a fantastic start to my new role; I’m really pleased to be coming into a team that clearly gives excellent support to women at one of the most exciting yet vulnerable times of their life. These results are incredibly promising, and I look forward to building further on the good work of the team across both our sites.”

The full results are available to view at