RCPCH responds to Independent Panel report into maternity and neonatal services at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board

Following publication of a report by Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives in 2019 that identified significant improvements to maternity services needed at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, the Welsh Government set up an Independent Maternity Services Oversight Panel.
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The Panel has now published it’s Thematic Neonatal Category Report. This is the third in a series of thematic reports published by the Panel about the maternity and neonatal care provided by the Health Board. This particular report focuses on the care of mothers and their babies who sadly died or required specialist neonatal care following birth. 

It has also published it’s April Progress Report, the sixth progress report to be published to date, covering the six-month period to 31 March 2022. It summarises the further progress that the Health Board has made in improving its maternity and neonatal services. 

Responding to the report, Dr David Tuthill, RCPCH Officer for Wales said:

“Behind each of the 70 maternity reviews conducted as part of the thematic review are women and families who suffered traumatic and tragic experiences, including many whose babies died. As we read these reports these families are in all our thoughts. The thematic review identifies hundreds of ‘modifiable factors’ resulting in care and treatment that fell below the expected standards and reading about these must be heart-breaking for the families involved. 

“As difficult as parts of these reports are, we agree with the Panel’s important message that the findings and recommendations provide opportunities to learn and improve. We will share this with our members in Wales to help promote this opportunity and contribute to all of the work happening to ensure the best possible outcomes in the future. 

“With that in mind, it is certainly encouraging to hear that such progress has been made at the Health Board that the Panel believes that the original action plan is almost ready for closure. The reports are clear that there is further work to be done, but we hope that families will be reassured to hear that a huge amount of change and progress has happened since the Panel’s first report three years ago.

“There is also wider learning to be taken from the thematic report, including a recommendation that the approach to smoking cessation in pregnancy should be strengthened, which is something we have called for in our State of Child Health reports. The Welsh Government will soon publish its new tobacco control plan and we hope they take action on this recommendation from the Panel. 

“All those involved need to continue to work together to ensure that children and families get the care they need and deserve.”