Milton Keynes maternity services among country’s worst

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The maternity care offered to women in Milton Keynes is among the worst in England, according to a government scrutiny.

New Ofsted-style rankings have placed MK firmly in the ‘greatest need for improvement’ category.

The rating table, which is part of a transparency drive by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, shows the city suffers 7.2 stillbirths per 1000 of the population.

But the biggest ‘fail’ was in the lack of choices in maternity care available to women under Milton Keynes CCG. This was rated at 57.6 out of a maximum score of 100.

The survey covered every aspect of pregnancy care, including GPs, midwives, health visitors and birthing options.

But the league tables did not take into account one of the city’s worst statistics – the number of babies who die shortly after birth in MK.

Between 2013 and 2014 five postnatal deaths occurred at the hospital maternity unit. Most involved staff allegedly failing to act upon warning signs of foetal distress.

This week MK Hospital maternity chief Ed Neale said: “We would like to reassure expectant mothers that the hospital is a safe, well-run department with experienced midwives and doctors who provide excellent care.”

He said: “Significant improvements” continue to be made and CQC has rated the service as good and effective.”

Meanwhile the CCG is working on creating a dedicated home birth team and improving local perinatal mental health services.

Fiona West, Senior Children, Young People and Maternity Commissioner for the CCG, said: “We continue to work with and support Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, our provider of maternity services, to deliver quality services and improved outcomes for expectant mothers, their babies and families within Milton Keynes.

“Recent CQC ratings are encouraging and local women should feel confident that local Women’s services, including maternity, are safe. We are committed to the highest quality of care and have been working to make improvements which include additional investment into a specialist perinatal mental health service. The service includes assessment, treatment and care for women suffering from mental ill health during pregnancy and for up to a year following childbirth.”