At the Trust, we are constantly striving to improve the care that we provide and I was pleased that a recently published Maternity Survey has shown the progress that is being made in maternity services.

The Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) 2021 Maternity Survey – which was run at 122 Trusts right across England – is based directly on the experience of the women we care for, who answered questions about all aspects of their maternity care experience from the first time they saw a clinician or midwife, during labour and birth, through to the care provided at home in the weeks following the arrival of their baby. The survey was for new mums over the age of 16 and took place in February last year – when the country was in the middle of a national COVID-19 lockdown.

The survey showed our Trust doing well in several areas and, out of all those trusts covered by it, we were one of only seven who were shown to be performing at a “better than expected” level. This means that the proportion of women who answered positively to questions about the care they received from us during labour and birth was significantly higher than the average for the other trusts in the survey.

This is testament to all the hard work and dedication that has been shown by my colleagues during incredibly difficult times and I would like to thank the whole of our team for helping us to improve the care that we provide and seeking to put women’s choices at the heart of our services. Our thanks also go out to the 196 mums who completed the survey as your views are extremely important to us. They help us to look at how we provide our services in the future and where improvements can be made.

We are really pleased with the positive feedback, reflecting as it does the direct experiences of those we’ve cared for at a cherished time, and the survey also comes on the back of SaTH’s CQC inspection report last year, which highlighted  examples of “outstanding practice” in our maternity services.

We have been working incredibly hard to transform the way we care for women, babies, and families, given previous failings, and – as pleasing as the progress we’ve made is – we remain firmly focused on those areas where further improvement is required. We know we still have more to do and are determined to keep improving to try and ensure we are providing excellent care to everyone, every time.

Over the past week, we have also said farewell to the 10 colleagues from the RAF who were brought in to support us at the Trust.

The team supported the Trust in non-clinical roles over a four-week period. They came to the Trust to work alongside porters, the Rapid Response Team, wards, the Incident Command Centre and stores. They were brought in due to the staffing pressures we faced because of COVID-19.

I would like to thank each and every one of our RAF colleagues for their support over the month. It was very much appreciated by all at SaTH.