For citation purposes: Bhaskar S, Koumousidis A, Vause S. Survey on maternity wards regarding privacy and confidentiality. OA Women's Health 2013 Jun 01;1(1):7.

Research study

Ethics & Psycho-Social Issues

Survey on maternity wards regarding privacy and confidentiality

S Bhaskar, A Koumousidis, S Vause

Authors affiliations

St Mary’s Hospital, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

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Respect for patients’ privacy and dignity and the maintenance of confidentiality are long-established principles of medical practice. General Medical Council has emphasised that patients have a right to expect that information about them will be held in confidence by their doctors and staff involved in their care. Confidentiality is central to the preservation of trust between doctors and their patients. Without assurances about confidentiality, patients may be reluctant to give information to the doctors, which they need in order to provide good care to the patients. The aim of this research study was to assess the patient impression on the confidentiality and privacy, maintained in maternity wards at tertiary-referral centre of St Mary’s Hospital for women and children.

Materials and methods

Using a structured questionnaire, patients were interviewed about privacy, dignity and confidentiality experienced during their stay in the hospital. The questionnaire did not have any questions, which would reveal the identity of the patient and was conducted in confidentiality, after their consent.


Sixty patients returned the completed questionnaire. The survey group mainly consisted of postnatal mothers (80%) staying in the bays shared by four patients (70%). There were eight patients in the teenage group. Number of days for the stay varied from 1–20 days, with mean of 7.5 days.


Our research study focused on women’s responses to their recent experience on maternity wards regarding privacy and confidentiality. It sought to gain insight into the service features the women associated with negative and positive reactions.

Licensee OA Publishing London 2013. Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY)