‘Worrying’ Number Of Mothers And Babies At Risk Due To Struggling Maternity Units

Clear Shortage Of Midwifes An Issue At Many Hospitals

29.03.2016

Oliver Wicks, Press Officer | 0114 274 4649

Leading medical negligence experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell are ‘worried’ by inspection reports which rate over 50% of hospital maternity services as either ‘inadequate’ or ‘require improvement’ for safety. 

The reports reveal that babies are being delivered by student midwives alone such is the shortage in some hospitals and some women are being refused pain-relieving injections. 

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has so far inspected the maternity services of 150 hospital trusts, of which 65 have been graded as 'require improvement' and 13 as 'inadequate' for safety. 

This means they are failing to take basic measures to prevent women and babies suffering avoidable harm. 

The latest CQC research revealed several units where inspectors found midwives were failing to carry out hourly checks of the foetus's heartbeat or not carrying them out properly.

The CQC gives trusts one of four ratings, as well as a separate grading for safety. Overall, 3 were 'outstanding', 91 'good', 48 'require improvement' and 8 were 'inadequate.' 

However the scores were lower for safety, where only 1 was 'outstanding', 71 'good', 65 'require improvement' and 13 'inadequate'.

Specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell support clients who have suffered poor standards of maternity care, which in some tragic cases can lead to the death of a child or parent. 

Expert Opinion
“The CQC inspection reports make for worrying reading, as we know from experience that inadequate care drastically increases the health risks to an expectant mother and her baby.

“All patients rightly expect a consistently high standard of care which puts their safety and welfare first regardless of where they’re based in the country.

"Pregnancy can be a difficult experience for some mothers without worrying whether the standard of care and support they’ll receive will be based on a postcode lottery.

“Sub-standard maternity care can have a devastating impact on those involved, which is why properly trained midwives should be available to support every pregnant woman.

“The number of ‘excellent’ and ‘good’ grades shows the type of services that are available in many hospitals but this should be something everyone experiences and expects and clearly that currently isn’t the case.

“It is simply unacceptable for such a large number of hospitals to be struggling and so many mothers and babies lives to be placed at unnecessary risk.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner