Thumbs up for Donegal's maternity care services

National survey show that most women had a positive experience in Letterkenny University Hospital

Thumbs up for Donegal's maternity care services

The results of the first-ever National Maternity Experience Survey, published this morning show that 85% of participants had either a good or a very good experience of maternity care in Ireland.

Most women who took part said that they were treated with respect and dignity, and had confidence and trust in staff.

The results for Letterkenny University Hospital show 122 responded to the survey, giving it a 45% participation rate.

Overall the local results showed 51% of respondents gave the hospital a 51% or very good rating with 23% marking them as good. Some 26% scored the hospital fair to poor.

Letterkenny University Hospital was one of the 19 participating hospitals.

Over 3,200 all over the country new mothers took part in this survey, which asked women about their recent experiences of Ireland’s maternity services — from antenatal care, through labour and birth, to postnatal care.

Overall the survey found that most women had a good experience of maternity care, though 15% did not. While many women said that they were treated with respect and dignity, and praised midwives and staff, there are several areas in need of improvement. Women commented that staff were often too busy to help them in the period shortly after birth, and that they did not receive the physical, mental and emotional supports that they needed at this time.


Results from Letterkenny University Hospital

Care while pregnant (antenatal care) (7.1 out of 10)

Care provided in the hospital and the community.
Ratings of 'care while pregnant (antenatal care)' were about the same as the national average. The highest-scoring question for this stage related to being treated with respect and dignity. The lowest-scoring question related to the receipt of information about changes in mental health while pregnant.

Care during labour and birth (8.3 out of 10)

Care provided in the hospital.
Ratings of ‘care during labour and birth' were about the same as the national average. The highest-scoring question related to the involvement of a partner or companion during
labour and birth. The lowest-scoring question related to the involvement of women in decisions about care during labour and birth.


Care in hospital after the birth (7.2 out of 10)
Care provided in the hospital.
Ratings of 'care in hospital after the birth' were
about the same as the national average.The highest-scoring question related to being told who to contact after discharge. The lowestscoring question related to 'debriefing' and the opportunity for women to ask questions about their labour and birth after the baby was born.

Specialised care (9.1 out of 10)
Care provided in the hospital
70% of women said that they had a very good overall experience of the care their baby received in the neonatal unit in Letterkenny University Hospital, compared with 70%
nationally.

Feeding (7.9 out of 10)
Care provided in the hospital and the community
Ratings of 'feeding' were about the same as the national average. The highest-scoring question related to respect for decisions about how women wanted to feed their baby. The lowest scoring question related to support and encouragement provided to women with feeding their baby while in hospital.

Care at home after the birth (8.3 out of 10)
Care provided in the community
Ratings of 'care at home after the birth'were about the same as the national average. The highest-scoring question related to being treated with respect and dignity at home after the birth. The lowest-scoring question related
to the time spent by the GP practice nurse/ midwife discussing mental health at the six-week check-up.

"Extend what works well"

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said what is clear from the survey is that women’s experiences of maternity services are overwhelmingly positive, and it is important that they now extend what works well, right across the system.

“It is also clear that some women had experiences which were not so positive.

"It is equally important that we learn from those to ensure that we address the areas where improvement is required. Providing high-quality, dignified and safe maternity and neonatal care to women and their babies is very important to me and this objective is shared by the entire government.

"Learnings from the survey must therefore be disseminated widely and acted upon in a timely manner. Of course, we must also ensure that we continue to listen to women’s voices if we are to deliver the safe, compassionate and responsive maternity service that the women of Ireland expect and deserve.”

HIQA’s director of health information and standards, Rachel Flynn, said their maternity services must be responsive to the needs of women.

"Thousands of babies are born in Ireland each year to women who will all have a unique story to tell about their care during pregnancy, childbirth and at home with a newborn
baby.

“It is only by listening and learning from the experiences of Irish mothers that we can bring about effective and sustainable changes to our maternity services, and put women and their babies at the centre of maternity care.

HSE CEO Paul Reid said they were very grateful to all the women who participated in the survey.

"As well as publishing the survey results today, we are also publishing the response of our community and hospital teams to the findings. Each maternity hospital and Community Healthcare Organisation has developed a quality improvement plan with clearly-defined actions to improve maternity care.

“At a local and national level we are committed to making and monitoring these changes. We are clear about our priorities for perinatal mental health, feeding support and health information at every part of the maternity journey.”

The report on the findings of the 2020 National Maternity Experience Survey, and the HSE’s quality improvement plans (QIPs), can be found at www.yourexperience.ie.

You can also visit www.yourexperience.ie
and follow them on social: Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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