Kent Maternity Unit 'Slammed' In CQC Report

The CQC Outlines Improvements That Need To Be Made By Kent's Biggest Maternity Unit

25.10.2013

The biggest maternity unit in Kent has been told it must make improvements following serious concerns raised about treatment in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.

Inspectors found a number of problems at the Medway NHS Foundation Trust's maternity ward in Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham and with the wider facility currently in special measures, this news will worry public health bosses.

The maternity unit is one of the largest of its kind in the south-east of England and delivers around 370 babies per month, according to Kent Online.

But inspectors have found the hospital failed to meet national regulations when it came to staffing, support workers and service assessment or monitoring.

Adrian Hughes, regional director of CQC in south England, said: "While patients and relatives we spoke to said that the care they received was good, we have serious concerns about the care and treatment that women have been receiving in maternity and midwifery services at Medway Maritime Hospital.
 
"The report we have published shows that the trust needs to deal with staffing levels as a matter of priority."

Chief among problems found by the CQC include an insufficient number of midwives and delays to care caused by the lack of a clear pathway to follow when it came to non-traditional birthing choices.

Staff training programmes were also not satisfactorily completed by staff and midwives in the community could not access online courses because of badly managed IT systems.

Professor Hasib Ahmed, clinical director for women's services at Medway Maritime hospital, accepted the report's findings and said it has begun to make progress on training and recruiting new midwives.

However, he said his department received "excellent patient feedback" and although the CQC report was damning in places, Mr Ahmed thinks local governance processes and systems are continuously improving.

Maternity care has been put under the spotlight by campaigners for some time now and a lack of midwives in the UK has stretched some departments to breaking point.

Expert Opinion
We are deeply concerned to hear of yet more improvements that are needed at the Medway NHS Trust’s maternity ward, particularly as the Trust has been placed under special following the Keogh review.

“The issue of staffing levels must be urgently addressed to ensure patient safety is not being compromised and that new mothers and their babies are both being given the thorough care they deserve.

“Sadly, we continue to be contacted by devastated families who placed their trust in maternity staff who let them down, often due to lack of resources. Standards must be improved at the Medway Maritime Hospital and lessons need to be learnt and shared across the country to create a safer NHS for all.”
Julie Lewis, Partner