Rev David Southall speaks out in this week's Chaplain's Blog to reassure parents-to-be.

“Care Quality Commission and Maternity Services at Worcester Royal.” I groan again.

You will no doubt have read the headline, fairly reported in our Worcester News, that the CQC have downgraded Maternity Services from ‘Good’ to ‘Requires Improvement’.

I have spent an hour reading the entire report issued on February 19.

I have spoken before about my misgivings with the CQC, but, be that as it may, there are obviously lessons to learn for management in particular.

Most importantly, I know only too well the concern and worry that such reports give to the women who will use our services: “Will I be cared for? Will my baby be delivered safely? Will the staff treat me well?”

So let me give you some reassurance from my own experience yesterday. I was called in to Delivery Suite for the most tragic of all reasons: the loss of a precious baby; such things sadly happen and Worcester’s figures for this are in line with the national average – which of course is still too high: one baby loss is one too many.

The couple were naturally devastated and had asked for Chaplaincy support. I entered the unit and found no disarray; just caring and professional midwives doing what they do best. Even in their distress the parents told me how wonderfully they had been treated. They told me that they had received so much care and compassion. They spoke, through the tears, about how everyone had been so good to them and that they couldn’t thank the staff enough.

I find that remarkable. The fact that, in the most tragic of times, this couple had nothing but praise for the midwives and other staff on the suite. I think this speaks volumes along with the fact that when I spoke with the staff about the CQC their prime concern was for the women they see who will no doubt feel extra anxiety because of this news.

These features of good care and compassion are features that the CQC report rightly picks up as positive. The Commission’s bone of contention is with higher management and their responses to safe staffing levels, from which I am sure lessons can be learned.

My point is that the un-nuanced statements in the headlines and the downgrading of the maternity services is a blunt tool which does not capture all the facts.

The fact is, that if you are due to come into hospital for your baby, you will be safe and well cared for. I know what it is like to feel the anxiety linked to impending birth: six months ago I was an anxious granddad waiting for the birth of my third grandchild. I was as confident of good service then as I am now.

So be assured of good care; and contact me if that is not what you experience.