Recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections has found that the maternity units at both of Nottingham’s main hospitals were inadequate.
The CQC conducted unannounced inspections at the maternity wards of both the City hospital and the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) on 14th and 15th October 2020, which highlighted serious concerns and further found that the care provided was not always in line with national guidance.
The reviews came after concerns were raised with the CQC about the care and safety of the services provided. It is understood that these concerns were raised following serious incidents, external investigations performed by Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) and Coroners Inquests.
Some of the failures in care identified in the CQC inspections of Nottingham City hospital and the QMC’s maternity units were:
- The service did not always have enough midwifery staff with the right qualifications, skills, training and experience to keep women safe from avoidable harm and to provide the right treatment;
- Staff did not always use a nationally recognised tool to identify women at risk of deterioration;
- Incidents were not always reported due to the demand on staff and the ineffective feedback and escalation;
- Lessons were not being learned;
- Leaders did not have the skills and ability to effectively lead the service;
- The service did not have an open culture where staff felt confident raising concerns without fear; and
- Leaders did not operate an effective governance process to continually improve the quality of the service and safeguard the standards of care.
Following the inspections, the CQC’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals stated:
“We were disappointed to find some serious concerns which were impacting on women’s care and safety… We found fundamental practice like adequately risk assessing women and babies, was not always done.”
Both maternity wards are now rated as inadequate. The CQC have imposed conditions of the hospital Trust and stated that:
“We took this urgent action as we believed a person would or may be exposed to the risk of harm if we had not done so.”
The notice gives the Trust three months to make improvements, including hiring additional midwifery staff and providing extra training.
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