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Medical negligence lawyer’s concern as Derby and Burton NHS maternity services rated as inadequate

I’ve read with concern today the conclusions from the Care Quality Commission inspectors about maternity services at the University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust.

The Trust’s maternity units were inspected in August and have now had their services downgraded from ‘good’ to ‘inadequate’. 

Royal Derby Hospital maternity findings 

At the Royal Derby Hospital, inspectors found that there were issues over the completion of appropriate risk assessments, problems with staffing levels and training, a failure to identify and manage safety incidents to ensure lessons were learnt, insufficient leadership capacity to ensure services were well led and examples of national guidelines not always being reflected in local guidelines – including trust fetal monitoring guidelines. 

Queen's Hospital Burton findings

At the Queen's Hospital staff were found to be not compliant with up-to-date training and key skills, they didn't always complete risk assessments to remove or minimise risks and didn't always recognise and report incidents, thereby reducing the ability for the Trust to learn lessons. 

There were concerns about the management of infection risks, the leadership team, how patients were treated during interactions with staff and that equipment, facilities and building maintenance impacted on patient safety and care. 

The Trust has apologised to mothers and families and the CQC will now monitor the sites. 

Patients left at risk of harm

What's most concerning to read in such clear terms is that inspectors found that patients have been left at risk of harm because of fundamental and basic issues around training, risk assessment and staff levels. 

This is the latest of a number of similar reviews nationwide which have highlighted how there have been failings in keeping mothers and their families safe. 

The impact of issues in maternity care

So many of the cases I've dealt with over the past 23 years or so have seen mothers and babies having to come to terms with life-changing injuries because of a failure to identify risks, or a failure to follow guidelines or issues with staffing levels. It's so concerning to see these problems so prevalent in these hospitals. 


Following the CQC's report, I hope that we will see the immediate changes that the Trust has now promised. These need to include sufficiently trained and supported staff who can make sure that they're able to deliver the safe and healthy care that mothers and babies are entitled to expect.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting families affected by maternity care issues at our dedicated birth injuries section. Alternatively, to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.