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Precarity and preparedness during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: A qualitative service evaluation of maternity healthcare professionals

De Backer, K, Brown, JM, Easter, A, Khazaezadeh, N, Rajasingam, D, Sandall, J, Magee, LA and Silverio, SA (2022) Precarity and preparedness during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: A qualitative service evaluation of maternity healthcare professionals. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 101 (11). pp. 1227-1237. ISSN 0001-6349

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/aogs.14438 (Published version)


Introduction: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has devastated populations, posing unprecedented challenges for healthcare services, staff and service-users. In the UK, rapid reconfiguration of maternity healthcare service provision changed the landscape of antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care. This study aimed to explore the experiences of maternity services staff who provided maternity care during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic to inform future improvements in care. Material and methods: A qualitative interview service evaluation was undertaken at a single maternity service in an NHS Trust, South London. Respondents (n = 29) were recruited using a critical case purposeful sample of maternity services staff. Interviews were conducted using video-conferencing software, and were transcribed and analyzed using Grounded Theory Analysis appropriate for cross-disciplinary health research. The focus of analysis was on staff experiences of delivering maternity services and care during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Results: A theory of “Precarity and Preparedness” was developed, comprising three main emergent themes: “Endemic precarity: A health system under pressure”; “A top-down approach to managing the health system shock”; and “From un(der)-prepared to future flourishing”. Conclusions: Maternity services in the UK were under significant strain and were inherently precarious. This was exacerbated by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, which saw further disruption to service provision, fragmentation of care and pre-existing staff shortages. Positive changes are required to improve staff retention and team cohesion, and ensure patient-centered care remains at the heart of maternity care.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans; Attitude of Health Personnel; Pregnancy; Qualitative Research; Maternal Health Services; Female; Pandemics; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; health system shock; healthcare systems; maternity staff; precarity; pregnancy; preparedness; Female; Humans; Pregnancy; Pandemics; SARS-CoV-2; Maternal Health Services; COVID-19; Attitude of Health Personnel; Qualitative Research; 1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine; 1117 Public Health and Health Services; Obstetrics & Reproductive Medicine
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RG Gynecology and obstetrics
Divisions: Psychology (new Sep 2019)
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2022 13:18
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2022 13:18
DOI or Identification number: 10.1111/aogs.14438
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/18255

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