New maternity service standards launched

New standards for maternity services have been published by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA).

According to HIQA, the National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services ‘describe what safe, high-quality maternity services should look like'.

They have been designed to support the implementation of Ireland's first National Maternity Strategy, which was launched in January 2016.

"HIQA developed the National Standards for Safer Better Maternity Services to make maternity care safer and better, and to ensure that the services delivered meet the needs of the women they are supposed to serve. The launch of maternity standards enables services to ensure that they are meeting the necessary outcomes to safeguard the people using their services and to improve the quality of care they provide," commented HIQA's director of Standards and Quality Improvement, Marie Kehoe-O'Sullivan.

The standards cover eight areas including:

-Person-centred care and support - this describes how maternity services should always place women and babies at the centre of what they do, ranging from the planning, design and delivery of maternity services to the additional supports that are in place for families who experience pregnancy complications or bereavement
-Safe care and support - this includes effectively identifying, managing, responding to and reporting on patient safety incidents, and always ‘fully and openly' informing women and their families as soon as possible when a patient safety incident has occurred
-Standards for workforce - this includes recruiting adequately trained staff who can provide safe, high-quality maternity care.

Ms Kehoe-O'Sullivan pointed out that these standards are informed by national and international research and best practice, and include the voices of women, patient advocates and frontline staff, who participated in focus groups, advisory groups and a public consultation, which took place between March and May.

"The standards put women at the centre of what maternity services do. By promoting practice that is up to date, effective and consistent, and based on best available evidence, they provide a framework of good practice for services to strive towards, but also for women to understand what safe, high-quality maternity care looks like and what they should expect from a service," she added.

The standards were launched by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris. They can be viewed here


[Posted: Wed 21/12/2016]

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