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Survey shows satisfaction with maternity services in Portlaoise Hospital

The results of the first ever National Maternity Experience Survey paint Portlaoise Hospital in a very good light.

Annually, there are 1,500 births in the maternity unit. The findings of the survey found that the overall satisfaction with care during pregnancy, labour and birth, and after birth compares very well against the national average.

Women who attended the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise rated highly, and above the national average, that they felt like they could talk about their worries and fears (7.1/10) and also that their questions were answered in a way that they could understand (8.1/10).

The findings also note positive ratings for partners being involved in the care and that they received information on the dangers of smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.

Women’s ratings of the care their baby received in the neonatal unit were significantly above the national average.

The highest-scoring question for this stage (ante natal) related to respect and dignity while pregnant, with 75.6% of women saying that they were always treated respect and dignity while they were pregnant.

The highest-scoring question for this stage (labour and birth) related to involvement of a partner or companion, with 95.7% saying that their partner or companion was as involved as they wanted them to be in the labour and birth.

One respondent said: “The most important thing was that I felt I could trust my doctor.

“She allowed me express my preferences and concerns, worked with me to achieve those and to make other decisions when those weren’t possible.”

Another said: “The midwives in Portlaoise were amazing to me … They were thoughtful, respectful and reassuring.

“They supported me in all my decisions which resulted in a beautiful birth of my baby. I was relaxed and kept informed all the time.”

But it wasn’t all positive as the survey also found that that there is more to do – particularly in the provision of information to women, improvements in staffing level, facilities and support for feeding and post-natal care.

The hospital says it will work to implement their quality improvement plans arising from this survey.

The Group has commenced the implementation of the National Healthcare Communication Programme in 2019/2020.

Facilitators have been trained and work is underway with the healthcare staff to improve effective and empathetic communication skills.

Commenting on the results achieved in the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise, Mr Michael Knowles, General Manager said: “We are very encouraged to receive the feedback by women who attended our services and would like to sincerely thank these women for taking the time to respond.

“We have a detailed Quality Improvement Plan in place and aim to address the feedback received.

Maureen Revilles, Director of Midwifery at the Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise said: “The role of the midwife in this care delivery is essential, providing evidence based, high quality maternity care which provides choice, meets the needs of women, achieving a fulfilling birth experience for the mother and safe delivery of her baby.

“We welcome the first national maternity survey and are fully committed to developing and delivering our services which is informed by the women who attend our services.

“Some of the key developments include the full implementation of the national communications programme, we have appointed a perinatal mental health consultant as a joint appointment with the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital.

“In addition, we have advertised for the post of Clinical Midwife Manager II in Perinatal Mental Health. Maternity Service staff have been exceptional in their response efforts to Covid-19 and ensured our services continued in a safe way. I would like to acknowledge and thank all staff.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.