Feedback gives praise to Airedale Hospitals maternity service

Sarah Keogh, labour ward manager in Airedale’s refurbished maternity unit

Sarah Keogh, labour ward manager in Airedale’s refurbished maternity unit

First published in News Ilkley Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Feedback from thousands of pregnant women and mothers about NHS-funded maternity services has been published for the first time, with those at Airedale Hospital being rated highly.

Since October 1, 2013, NHS England has been asking the Friends and Family Test (FFT) question in every NHS-funded maternity unit across the country.

The FFT test, where patients are asked if they would recommend the same service to a friend or family member, is already an integral part of A&E and acute in-patient units, giving patients the opportunity to have their say and help shape better NHS services. It was announced by the Prime Minister in January 2012.

Now, three months of feedback from maternity units has been gathered and analysed and the latest data published on the NHS Choices website.

The information will provide a base line so local people will be able to track improvements in their local maternity services.

Women were asked up to four questions at three stages during their pregnancy, seeking feedback about ante-natal services, the labour ward/ birthing unit or home birth services, the post-natal ward and the postnatal community services.

At Airedale NHS Trust, 37 out of 45 mums who responded said they were highly likely to recommend the service. About 2,400 babies are born each year at Airedale General Hospital.

Rob Dearden, director of nursing at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The real strength of the Friends and Family Test is that it ensures that the voices of patients and their families are heard – putting people at the centre of their local NHS and enabling them to help shape better services much faster than more traditional survey methods.

“Comments and scores for various stages of maternity care are rapidly available to our maternity team, so practical action can be taken to address problems that concern new and expectant mums, while positive comments are very important in maintaining the morale of hard-working staff. From ward to board, colleagues can look at the results of the Friends and Family Test and better understand how our maternity services are experienced by mothers and how they can make improvements.”

In July 2013, the new Airedale Birthing Centre, funded by £748,000 from the Department of Health, officially opened, It has four birthing suites, all with private patio areas and en-suite wet room facilities.

The Friends and Family Test data is published on the NHS Choices website, nhs.uk.

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