NCT works with the BBC to expose ‘maternity crisis’

The BBC found that tens of thousands of mothers and babies in England were harmed by potential lapses in maternity care in the past two years – and they were keen to work with NCT to expose the news

Research by the BBC revealed that the number of incidents logged by worried hospital staff was the equivalent of one mistake for every five births.

The BBC called NCT’s press office before Christmas to ask if we’d comment on its new research.

Their findings – about lapses in maternity care – certainly weren’t news to us. The BBC figures echoed our research (conducted with the National Federation of Women’s Institutes) in January last year, which found that 50% of women experienced ‘red-flag events’ on labour wards.

‘Red flag events’, according to NICE, are signs that there may not be enough midwives available to give women and babies the care they need, for example having to wait more than 30 minutes to get pain relief or over an hour to be given stitches.

So the new BBC figures were hardly a shock and we gave them the following quote: ‘Maternity care is in crisis, staffing levels are dangerously low and midwives are being stretched to the limit’. We think we were justified in using the word ‘crisis’.

Despite the vast majority of women in the UK having a good experience of maternity services, too many are still receiving substandard care.

Our hard-hitting quote was used on BBC1 Breakfast, and cited on the BBC News website.

And it was put to the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.