Health watchdog calls for improved continuity of care in pregnancy

Improvements in continuity of care from pregnancy to the postnatal period is needed in England, says a healthcare watchdog.

The Healthcare Commission said its biggest concerns were potentially inadequate staffing levels on maternity wards, consultant obstetricians spending too little time on wards, a lack of continuity of care, poor adherence to antenatal protocol for high-risk women and too few beds and bathrooms in maternity units.

Problems were also found with antenatal services, with most trusts failing to offer the recommended quadruple test for Down’s syndrome, as recommended by NICE in April 2007.

Launching the report today, Sir Ian Kennedy, chairman of the Healthcare Commission, said: ‘There is no doubt that the report contains some tough messages.

‘There is clearly more to be done to improve the quality of clinical care as well as the experiences of women. The matters raised and the views expressed must not be ignored.’

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