Better Miscarriage Care campaign: Freedom of Information results
One year on, we contacted all the hospital trusts in England, using Freedom of Information requests, to see how they measure up against our code. And now the results are in.
UPDATE, June 2014: For latest news on our campaign, please click here.
The results suggest that most are doing well on many of the issues important to women and their families. But the response rate was disappointingly low (at 74%), and there is significant room for improvement on some key measures.
Of trusts who responded:
- 67% separate miscarrying women from those receiving routine outpatient antenatal or postnatal care, and 81% treat miscarrying women separately as inpatients
- 64% offer follow-up appointments as standard, and all provide information about how to obtain counselling
- Only 19% of Early Pregnancy Assessment Units are open seven days a week
- In one case, a woman waited 19 days for a procedure to surgically complete her miscarriage
- 26% of trusts failed to respond in a timely way, or at all
Justine Roberts said:
"We are pleased to see that many hospital trusts have good policies in place to ensure that the care they provide to miscarrying women is timely, appropriate and empathetic. Now we need to make sure that these policies are implemented consistently so that women and men get the care they deserve – as well as continuing to campaign for the full implementation of our Code of Care in those trusts whose responses were disappointing."
What you can do
To keep the pressure on, we're going to need your help. Did your trust respond? Are you happy with its policies? Do its policies measure up to your experience? Let us know on the Talk thread, and contact your MP if you think your trust should be doing more. Over the next couple of months, we will be identifying some MPs who are happy to take this forward at a local level and work with the trusts in their constituencies
Our Freedom of Information requests
Here's the text of the requests we sent to all English hospital trusts:
For all questions, please provide answers for the period October 2011-December 2011, or the most recent quarter for which you have data (please specify).
- Where miscarrying women require surgery, is any part of their waiting or treatment time spent in an antenatal or labour ward setting? If yes, how many miscarrying women were treated in these settings during the time period specified? (If you have a relevant policy document, please send a copy.)
- Please state the average waiting time between diagnosis and surgery for miscarrying women who required ERPC procedures during the specified time period. Please indicate if the trust/hospital does not collect data on waiting times. (If you have a relevant policy document, please send a copy.)
- Do you provide a relevant, localised information leaflet for women who are miscarrying? (If yes, please release.)
- What pain relief is offered to women who miscarry at home? (If you have a relevant policy document, please send a copy.)
- The Mumsnet Miscarriage Code of Care [www.mumsnet.com/campaigns/miscarriage-code-of-care] recommends easy access to scanning for women who may be miscarrying. Are Early Pregnancy Assessment Units (EPAUs) open seven days a week? If not, is portable ultrasound equipment available in A&E and gynaecological units, along with staff trained to use it, seven days a week? (If you have a relevant policy document, please send a copy.)
- Are women who have miscarried at home and have experienced severe symptoms routinely offered a scan to check that there are no ongoing complications? (If you have a relevant policy document, please send a copy.)
- Are women who present to the hospital undergoing miscarriage or suspected miscarriage separated from women having routine antenatal and postnatal care, and from women terminating an unwanted pregnancy? If not, how many miscarrying women were treated alongside women receiving ante-natal/postnatal care or undergoing terminations? (If you have a relevant policy document, please send a copy.)
- What training do clinical staff in your early pregnancy units, antenatal wards, A&E, postnatal wards, and antenatal scanning facilities receive specifically about how to sensitively approach women who are miscarrying or have undergone miscarriage? (If you have a relevant policy document, please send a copy.)
- Are follow-up appointments offered (as standard) to women who have miscarried? (If you have a relevant policy document, please send a copy.)
- Is information about counselling services made available (as standard) to women who have miscarried? (If so, please release this information.)
- Better Miscarriage Care campaign
- See the results of the Mumsnet Miscarriage Survey
- Talk: miscarriage care campaign