Maternity services in the UK during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: a national survey of modifications to standard care

J. Jardine, S. Relph, L. A. Magee, P. von Dadelszen, E. Morris, M. Ross-Davie, T. Draycott, A. Khalil*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To explore the modifications to maternity services across the UK, in response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, in the context of the pandemic guidance issued by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and NHS England. Design: National survey. Setting: UK maternity services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Population or sample: Healthcare professionals working within maternity services. Methods: A national electronic survey was developed to investigate local modifications to general and specialist maternity care during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the context of the contemporaneous national pandemic guidance. After a pilot phase, the survey was distributed through professional networks by the RCOG and co-authors. The survey results were presented descriptively in tabular and graphic formats, with proportions compared using chi-square tests. Main outcome measures: Service modifications made during the pandemic. Results: A total of 81 respondent sites, 42% of the 194 obstetric units in the UK, were included. They reported substantial and heterogeneous maternity service modifications. Seventy percent of units reported a reduction in antenatal appointments and 56% reported a reduction in postnatal appointments; 89% reported using remote consultation methods. A change to screening pathways for gestational diabetes mellitus was reported by 70%, and 59% had temporarily removed the offer of births at home or in a midwife-led unit. A reduction in emergency antenatal presentations was experienced by 86% of units. Conclusions: This national survey documents the extensive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternity services in the UK. More research is needed to understand the impact on maternity outcomes and experience. Tweetable abstract: A national survey showed that UK maternity services were modified extensively and heterogeneously in response to COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Coronavirus disease 2019
  • maternity
  • service modifications
  • workforce survey

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