New mums score Harrogate NHS trust’s Maternity services “better than most other trusts” in national survey

Maternity services in Harrogate have been scored highly by new mums as part of a national survey by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – with Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust performing “better than most other Trusts” on a number of questions.

The CQC’s 2018 Maternity Survey – newly published this week – shows that the Trust’s maternity services are performing highly – with scores “better than most Trusts” on a number of questions and high scores on others.

The 2018 survey of women’s experiences of maternity care involved 129 NHS acute trusts in England. In Harrogate, 135 responses were received from women who used the Trust’s maternity services, with a response rate of 51 per cent, well above the national average. The survey asks questions relating to the mums’ experiences of maternity care while using the service, including care in hospital and at home and their experiences of staff. The average scores have been generated out of 10.

The Trust “were better than most trusts” for eight questions – with new mothers scoring the Trust 10/10 on a question relating to them being able to contact the service once they were home. These better results are:

  • At the very start of your labour, did you feel that you were given appropriate advice and support when you contacted a midwife or the hospital? Rated 9.4/10 overall.
  • If you needed attention during labour and birth, were you able to get a member of staff to help you within a reasonable time? 9.4/10
  • Thinking about your care during labour and birth, were you treated with respect and dignity? 9.8/10
  • If you needed attention while you were in hospital after the birth, were you able to get a member of staff to help you within a reasonable time? 8.4/10
  • Thinking about the care you received in hospital after the birth of your baby, were you given the information or explanations you needed? 8.6/10
  • Did you feel that midwives and other health professionals gave you active support and encouragement about feeding your baby? 8.5/10
  • When you were at home after the birth of your baby, did you have a telephone number for a midwife or midwifery team that you could contact? 10/10
  • Did a midwife tell you that you would need to arrange a postnatal check-up of your own health with your GP? (around 6-8 weeks after the birth). 9.8/10

The results also show that in the ‘Labour and birth’ and ‘Care in hospital after the birth’ sections of the survey, the Maternity service is performing better when compared with results from the previous year.

Alison Pedlingham, Head of Midwifery for Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to see that we are performing better than other trusts on a number of questions in the CQC’s 2018 Maternity Survey. The results of the survey show that the hard work and dedication of all our Maternity staff is recognised by new mums who have used our services and given birth with us.

“We are particularly pleased to see that we are performing better in two of the question categories when compared to the previous years’ results. Thank you to all of those who took the time to respond to the survey and to help us identify what we are doing right and where we can make further improvements to our Maternity Services.”

View the full report here.


Notes to editors: The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. Its survey received responses from 17,611 women nationally, and women were eligible for the survey if they had a live birth during February 2018, were aged 16 years or older, and gave birth in a hospital, birth centre, maternity unit, or at home. Fieldwork for the survey (the time during which questionnaires were sent out and returned) took place between April and August 2018.

For further information please contact:

Jamie Wright, Communications and Marketing Assistant, [email protected] and 01423 557732.

Harrogate District Hospital’s Maternity Unit has become only the second in the whole of the UK to be awarded Unicef’s Baby Friendly Initiative Gold Award – plus the hospital’s Special Care Baby Unit (SCBU) has become the second in the whole of the UK to be awarded Unicef Baby Friendly Accreditation.

This combination of both a Gold award for Maternity and full accreditation for SCBU is the first of its kind in the whole of the UK.

Mum Hannah with baby Harrison and Special Care Baby Unit staff.

The Baby Friendly Initiative, set up by UNICEF and the World Health Organization, is a global programme which provides a practical and effective way for health services to improve the care provided for mothers and babies. It is based on a comprehensive set of standards designed to provide parents with the best possible care to build close and loving relationships with their baby, and to feed their baby in ways which will support optimum health and development.

Harrogate District Hospital’s Maternity Unit has held full Unicef Baby Friendly Accreditation since 2002, with the Gold Award – set up in November 2016 – requiring extra work and development to further enhance standards of care and ensure long-term sustainability. Gold is the highest level it’s possible to achieve.

This involved ensuring 16 criteria are met, including a named Baby Friendly lead/team with sufficient knowledge and skills; support for ongoing staff learning and mechanisms in place to support a positive culture; and ensuring staff skills remain up-to-date. The Unit also needed to demonstrate it is responsive to change and can provide evidence of improved patient outcomes. These criteria are independently assessed by a Unicef representative.

SCBU’s full accreditation demonstrates the unit’s commitment to providing the highest quality care for the hospital’s youngest patients and their families.

To meet the standard, SCBU was judged against a set of criteria including supporting parents to have a close and loving relationship with their baby; enabling babies to receive breastmilk and to breastfeed when possible; and to value parents as partners in care. Again, these standards are independently assessed by Unicef.

Mum Haibo with baby Dylan and Maternity Unit staff.

Sue Ashmore, Programme Director, UNICEF UK Baby Friendly Initiative, said: “Harrogate is the first service in the country to receive both a Gold award for their maternity service and full accreditation for the neonatal unit. It is a fantastic achievement and a testament to, not only the hard work of all the staff, but to the innovative and ‘can do’ culture within the service. Not only have they improved the care of mothers and babies in Harrogate, the staff have also shown others what can be done, which will hopefully influence improvements in care for all mothers and babies in the UK.”

Alison Pedlingham, Head of Midwifery at Harrogate District Hospital, said: “I’m so proud of my colleagues in both the Maternity Unit and the Special Care Baby Unit. These awards are entirely due to their hard work and dedication to providing the best possible care for new arrivals, mums and their families. So much work has gone into these achievements.

“These awards give assurance to mums-to-be that we are completely focused on providing high quality care. Thank you to colleagues, and to mums and their families, for their part in these achievements. The challenge now is to continue our efforts and to maintain these high standards over the coming years.”


For further information please contact:

Paul Widdowfield, Communications and Marketing Manager, [email protected] and 01423 557470.

Midwives at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust have received £40,000 from Health Education England to support the development of a new programme of multidisciplinary training in Maternity Services.

The training will be delivered in-house by the Trust’s Maternity Department. Each element of the programme will incorporate acquisition of knowledge and its application through team work. The effect of human factors on performance of the individual and the team will be an underlying principle throughout. 

Maternity Services at the Trust provide care for mums-to-be and their baby from the start of their pregnancy through the birth and beyond, offering support, advice and information to help them through this exciting time.

Kathy McClune, Professional Development Midwife at HDFT, said: “We are committed to delivering high quality, safe care to the mothers and babies in our care. This financial award will enable us to provide staff with extra training above what they already receive. Staff will be able to attend a variety of training events including emergency skills training, leadership and teamwork workshops and a conference on breech birth.

“Our focus is very much on working together and we are particularly excited to be bringing midwives, obstetricians and GPs together in June for a training day on perinatal mental health.”

Health Education England’s Maternity Safety Training Fund programme has distributed over £8m across all NHS trusts with maternity services in England, to deliver training to improve maternity safety.

136 NHS trusts, including all 134 acute trusts with maternity units, have now received funding to implement packages of multi-disciplinary training, focussing on the key patient safety improvement areas of maternity team leadership, multi-professional team working and communication, human factors training, fetal growth and monitoring, plus midwifery, obstetric and CTG skills and drills.

Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, HEE Director of Nursing said: “Trusts were invited to apply for funding in 2016 and the response from service providers and partners in applying to make maternity services safer through education and training has been excellent, as well as the response from training providers to meet demand for course places. Thank you to all applicants and regional experts who worked hard to prepare and assess training plans. I am delighted that all NHS maternity trusts have been awarded an allocation from the fund to progress their training and safety improvements, helping to make maternity services safer for mothers and babies, and enhance their care experience.”

Every NHS trust receiving funding has committed to key actions to improve safety, including developing maternity safety improvement plans to be approved and monitored by trust boards, and appointing maternity safety champions. Trusts will also be linking in with quality and safety improvement programmes and resources across the NHS.

Training programmes are due to be completed by March 2018 and HEE will commission an independent evaluation to assess how NHS trusts have improved quality and safety within maternity services and the wider impact for mothers and babies, families, and the maternity workforce.

Working with the national Maternity Transformation Programme partners, HEE is supporting the multi-professional training recommendations from the 2016 National Maternity Review report: ‘Better Births – Improving outcomes for maternity services in England’ and ensuring maternity safety education and training materials are available for maternity units across England.


For further information please contact:

Paul Widdowfield, Communications and Marketing Manager, [email protected] and 01423 557470.

Notes to editors: Maternity Safety Training Commitments: Every NHS trust receiving funding must:

  1. Appoint obstetric and maternity safety champions with a direct link from frontline to board level.
  2. Use the Perinatal Mortality Review Tool to standardise perinatal mortality reviews (once available).
  3. Report into the maternity services data set and other key data sets by 2018, prioritising early submission where possible.
  4. Take part in the National Maternity Quality Improvement programme (once available).
  5. Make appropriate links with safety improvement programmes run by Sign up to Safety and NHS Litigation Authority.
  6. Use the NHS Improvement resource pack to help teams avoid unnecessary separation of mother and babies (once available).
  7. Implement (at least 2 of the 4 elements of) the NHS England Saving Babies’ Lives Safer Care Bundle.
  8. Develop a maternity safety improvement plan, approved at board level.

We’re delighted to announce that our Maternity Department at Harrogate District Hospital has undergone a full refurbishment following a successful bid for funding from the Department of Health.

The refurbishment included:

  • A new Maternity Assessment Centre for the triage of pregnant women
  • A brand new birthing pool and room
  • En-suite facilities for all delivery rooms
  • Replacement of all carpets within the Maternity Department
  • Decoration of all corridors, the midwives stations on the Delivery Suite and Pannal Ward, and the entrance to the Maternity Department

We held our grand opening on 12 October 2015, and were delighted by the response to our beautiful new facilities. One mum even compared it to a “five star hotel spa”!

Huge thanks to everyone involved in the project and to  Green Hammerton mum, Lena (who had the first water birth following the refurbishment), and Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives, for doing officially opening the Unit.