New report emphasises safety, choice and better mental health provision but concerns remain.

BTA comments on Maternity Review Report

Birth Trauma Association: Emphasis on safety in Maternity Review is welcome
The Birth Trauma Association (BTA), which represents women who have experienced mental health problems after a traumatic birth, welcomes the publication of Julia Cumberlege’s maternity review.
We are particularly pleased to see an emphasis on safer care and the recommendation that midwives, obstetricians and other professionals work together to deliver safe and personalised care for women and their babies. The recommendation of a national, standardised process for investigating when things go wrong is also a huge step in the right direction.
Postnatal mental healthcare has long been a neglected area, and we are delighted to see the report recommend that this historic underfunding is to be addressed. Our members often report difficulty in accessing the mental healthcare provision they need.
We are, however, concerned at the proposed changes to the tariff, which potentially introduces different prices for home births, freestanding midwifery units, alongside midwifery
units and obstetric units. There is a risk that this will encourage choices that are cheaper, rather than ones that are best for women.
Maureen Treadwell, the BTA’s research officer, said: “We have long argued for better collaboration between midwives and obstetricians, and are very pleased to see this recommended in the report. It’s also very encouraging that the report recommends better data collection and a standard process for investigating problems. Some of the deaths of babies at Morecambe Bay could have been avoided if such a process had been in place.
“The recognition that many women suffer from mental health problems after birth, and that there needs to be proper funding to support women with these problems, is long overdue. We hope that women who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder after a traumatic birth will finally receive the support we need.
“We are concerned, however, at the implications of the report’s suggestion of different pricing for different places of birth. It’s hugely important that women are able to give birth in a place that feels right for them, and that they are not forced into what trusts see as the least costly option.”

BTA submissions to the review can be seen here:
Click here for submission 1
Click here for submission 2

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