Baby on the way: Was an ambulance in the plan?

Theresa Foster
Monday, November 5, 2012

ObjectivesThe East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (the trust) sought the views of patients it attended who were imminently about to give birth at the time of the 999 call to the trust. This was a patient group who had previously never been specifically targeted by the trust as part of its on-going patient feedback activity to inform service development.MethodsAll imminent birth patients during a four consecutive month period from August to November 2008 were sent a questionnaire asking them about their contact and satisfaction with the ambulance service at the time of the birth.ResultsResults of this survey have shown that almost a fifth (19.4 %) of patients who had intended to give birth in hospital had planned to use the ambulance service for their transport. Perceived complications, severe pain, labour not progressing, or the advice of a midwife were the main reasons given for unplanned use of the service. In this sample, a greater percentage of patients who planned to give birth at a hospital or maternity centre actually gave birth at home (25.5 %), than was achieved by patients who had planned a home birth (16.7 %).ConclusionsFurther investigation is needed to inform developments in partnership working between ambulance and maternity services to better serve this patient group.

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