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Healthwatch Gloucestershire response: BBC Panorama programme ‘Midwives under pressure’ (29 Jan 2024)

by | Jan 30, 2024 | Healthwatch Gloucestershire, Local Healthwatch

The BBC Panorama documentary, ‘Midwives under pressure’, broadcast on 29 January 2024, highlights the national challenges in maternity care, and focuses on our Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s (GHNHSFT). It includes the tragic deaths of two babies and a mother, and interviews with midwives and families.

We recognise that the programme will raise significant issues and concerns for local residents and considerable distress for some.

The Trust has released a statement saying: “We are deeply sorry that failings in our care led to these tragic deaths and how devastating this has been for those families. We are determined to learn and change when things go wrong. As a result of our internal and independent investigations we have made significant improvements to our maternity services in the past three years.”

The full statement, as well as some ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ and services that can offer support can be found here: gloshospitals.nhs.uk/about-us/news-media/press-releases-statements/statement-bbc-panorama-focus-on-maternity-services

We are pleased that GHNHSFT have taken proactive steps to ensure a route for these concerns to be shared and for questions to be answered. We urge the Trust to engage with families in a purposeful and intentional manner, involving them in the decision-making process regarding their care.

It is essential that every family, regardless of their background or circumstances, has equitable access to the support and information they need during their maternity journey. Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Maternity Services must actively seek the perspectives of all, including staff and those patients and their families who may face challenges in accessing necessary support.

Healthwatch Gloucestershire remains committed to ensuring that the voice of our communities across Gloucestershire is heard and acted upon, and we call upon GHNHSFT to continue striving for improvement in maternity care.

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