The standard of maternity care provided by Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust is as good as anywhere else in the country, according to the independent Healthcare Commission (HCC). In the most-comprehensive review ever of 148 trusts across England, Northe

The standard of maternity care provided by Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust is as good as anywhere else in the country, according to the independent Healthcare Commission (HCC).In the most-comprehensive review ever of 148 trusts across England, Northern Devon's service was ranked as 'best performing' - the highest category.The HCC looked at the care provided from the moment a mother-to-be first contacts a service to her final contact with a midwife, usually around 10 days after a birth.Northern Devon came out top among the 15 maternity units in the South West - Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Dorset - in two out of three categories:lThe level of 'woman-centred care', which covers issues such as the choices on offer during labour and the quality of support after the birthlEfficiency and capability, which includes staffing levels and the homeliness of delivery roomsIt was joint third in the South West for 'clinical focus', which includes compliance with national guidance and best practice.The comprehensive review builds on an HCC survey, published last November, in which new mothers gave very positive feedback about local maternity care. Julia Drury, the Trust's Head of Midwifery, said: "First our mums said how much they valued the local service, now the Healthcare Commission confirms that it's not just an impression - we really do offer a very high standard of care."We've got a great team, both at North Devon District Hospital and out in the community, who are really dedicated to the mums and babies."Seumas Eckford, consultant obstetrician and clinical lead for maternity services, said: "These are excellent results, but we're not just going to sit back and relax. We'll be looking in depth at the full review and seeing how we can make things even better."The Healthcare Commission report is available at:http://2007ratings.healthcarecommission.org.uk/