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Latest CQC inspection finds maternity services at York and Scarborough Hospitals to be 'inadequate'

The Care Quality Commission has told York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust it must make improvements, rating its maternity services as 'inadequate.'

During the inspection in March 2023, inspectors found that there were continuing issues with safety measures and staff training and a lack of qualified and trained staff in both maternity units.

It comes after the CQC issued a warning notice and suspended the Trust’s rating to allow for improvements to be implemented, in March 2022. 

The inspections took place as part of a review of maternity services in the UK. The CQC State of Care report in 2022 stated: “There have been a wide range of programme and policy initiatives in recent years to improve the quality and safety of maternity care in England. But, despite the greater national focus, the pace of progress has been too slow. Action to ensure all women have access to safe, effective and truly personalised maternity care has not been sufficiently prioritised to reduce risk and help prevent future tragedies from occurring."

Sarah Dronsfield, the Care Quality Commission Deputy Director of Operations in the north was concerned that people using the Trust’s services were “being put at risk of harm from a lack of good processes”. 

After the CQC issued a warning notice last March, it carried out an unannounced inspection in October and again found further serious concerns around maternity services and urgent and emergency care.

Speaking out on the findings, Simon Morritt, Chief Executive of the Trust referred to the pressures across the whole of the NHS which was impacting on the ability to consistently provide the standard of care that they would want to.

Dr Karen Stone, Medical Director of the York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We continue to work with the CQC to address their recommendations and have plans to focus on the key priority areas where we know we need to continue to make sustained improvements."

She also referred to the comprehensive Maternity Improvement Programme which was put in place after the inspection in March 2022 to drive forward the actions identified by the CQC. 

This included implementing the BadgerNet system in maternity to move away from paper records and to increase the quality of documentation and risk assessments. 

Other steps were being taken to ensure that there were safe staffing levels.

As a specialist medical negligence solicitor, I see the impact on families when there are serious errors in obstetric care which can result in either the stillbirth or death of a newborn baby, catastrophic brain injuries or injuries to the mother.

Patient safety needs to be the paramount consideration in all medical care and as a result of the series of inspections, the Trust’s pledge to make improvements is welcomed.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell’s expertise in supporting families affected by maternity care issues at our dedicated medical negligence section.

Simon Morritt, chief executive of the trust, said he accepted the findings and recognised "we have much more work to do".”