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Experiences of maternity services during the COVID-19 pandemic

Kate Heighway talks about maternity services in Calderdale and Huddersfield during the covid-19 pandemic.

Engagement took place with families from across Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield about their experiences of using maternity services during the pandemic, covering all aspects of the maternity journey that service users may have experienced.

The work has had strong contribution from local Maternity Voices Partnerships, both in the development and analysis of the findings. Overall analysis was carried out by the University of Huddersfield.

You told us…

  • The majority of service users were satisfied with their experience of maternity services and appreciated the care provided during a challenging time.
  • Although interactions with individual health professionals were largely described as positive, some service users and partners felt disregarded and lost in the system.
  • The impact that restrictions relating to partners and other family members or birthing companions has had on both the service users themselves and their partners was a major area of concern.
  • Emotional and mental wellbeing support should not be forgotten during this period: service users experienced both the pandemic and the altered care/restrictions that have happened in response to the pandemic as having an impact on their emotional and psychological wellbeing and some felt that mental health had not been addressed.
  • Virtual contact is not a substitute for face to face contact
  • Service users from BAME communities were less satisfied with the care they received than others.

What are we doing

The feedback received has supported both Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust and The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust to form individual action plans, firstly addressing the immediate aspects arising from the survey. It will also be used to develop longer term actions that will help to further improve their services. The CCGs are working with the Trusts on these action plans.