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Maternity services inquiry

The RCP has submitted evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee’s inquiry on the Safety of maternity services in England.

This inquiry explores the recurrent failings in maternity services and seeks evidence on the action needed to improve safety for mothers and babies. It also considers whether clinical negligence and litigation processes need to be changed to improve the safety of maternity services, as well as the extent to which a “blame culture” affects medical advice and decision-making.

Our submission to the Committee is based on the experience of the obstetric physicians working across the country, who are Fellows of the RCP. In summary it highlights that:

  1. Causes of maternal mortality and morbidity in the UK are often related to underlying medical conditions
  2. Development of Obstetric Medicine specialists and national networked maternal medicine services aim to contribute to a reduction in maternal mortality and morbidity and improve patient safety
  3. All health professionals who may encounter pregnant women need specialist bespoke training and education in obstetric medicine. This includes every level of training (undergraduate, postgraduate or following training completion) and those working in physician specialities as well as maternity.
  4. The RCP has been instrumental in the growth in this area in recent years with:
     - The development of post-CCT and higher specialist training (HST) credentialing in Obstetric Medicine (2020)
     - The publication of recommendations for the management of pregnant women in an acute medical setting (in conjunction with the Society of Acute Medicine)   - Acute care toolkit 15: Management of acute medical problems in pregnancy