A wide range of criteria, including quality of clinical care, staffing levels, services offered and women's feedback on their experience, were used.
SO WHICH WERE THE WORST TRUSTS?
The report avoids terms such as 'worst', calling them instead the 'least well performing'. But it still amounted to a severe reputational challenge to those in the commission's bottom ten, most of which were in the London area.
HOW DID THEY RESPOND?
Several issued press statements, although there were subtle variations in approach. For example, the in-house comms team at Croydon's Mayday Trust went down the third-party endorsement route, expressing disappointment while highlighting a sample of recent, positive comments from mothers who had babies there.
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHERS?
Luton and Dunstable rather cutely praised the commission report for highlighting 'the pressure that hospital maternity units find themselves in across the whole country'. The comms team's key messages included the fact that local birth rates were 30 per cent above the national average and that the trust's safety record was not questioned.
SO ARE THESE HOSPITALS SAFE?
Yes, in fact the commission went out of its way to emphasise that the fact trusts had performed poorly did not mean you should not use them. Bromley's response centred on highlighting areas that it would improve around data quality and strengthening women-centred care.
WHAT IS THE ISSUE WITH 'DATA QUALITY'?
It is one of the key comms lessons to be learned. It is likely that some trusts could have avoided damage to their reputations if information was more readily available. The commission said 103 trusts were unable to provide full facts and this had an impact on their score - with six trusts having scores restricted by lack of data.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
The commission will publish a detailed national report with analysis and recommendations later this year. In the meantime, all trusts rated 'least well performing' will have to produce an action plan.
Further information www.healthcarecommission.org.uk