Medical Negligence Experts Contacted By Patient After Inspection Highlights Issues In A Number Of Areas Including Maternity And Cancer Care
Specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have spoken of their concern after it emerged a Hospital Trust was ordered to urgently improve its maternity services.
Health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a report following an unannounced inspection at Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Inspectors found the Trust’s maternity unit was unsafe. It has told the Trust it needs to “make significant improvements in the quality and safety” of maternity services, a report into the inspection said. The CQC also raised concerns about a lack of staff and the suitability of equipment.
The findings form part of a wider inspection of the Trust which was first classed as requiring improvement back in 2019.
Specialist medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have been contacted by a maternity patient concerned about the CQC recent findings.
The latest report comes after a damning report into maternity services at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust Hospitals earlier this year found widespread issues at that Trust dating back nearly 20 years. The independent review led by former midwife Donna Ockenden made a series of recommendations for improving maternity services, not only in Shrewsbury and Telford but nationally.
Expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have represented and continue to represent families affected by maternity care, including deaths and birth injuries at Trusts across the country, including in Sheffield, Shrewsbury and Telford as well as Nottingham.
Following the CQC’s inspection in Chester the legal experts are now calling on the Trust to ensure it upholds its pledge to improve safety and services.
Expert Opinion“Sadly this is yet another inspection where serious and worrying concerns have been raised about the standard of maternity care and, in this case, the wider Trust.
“We continue to see too many families whose lives have been devastated by issues with their care. While we welcome the Trust’s pledge to make improvements following the issues identified by the CQC, what’s happened at the Countess of Chester isn’t an isolated incident.
“Serious maternity failings connected to Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust Hospitals and concerns around services in East Kent, Nottingham, Sheffield, and more recently Basildon, all point to widespread deep-rooted problems on a national scale.
“Understandably many patients who have been treated at the Countess of Chester are questioning the standard of care they received. We’re supporting a patient who has contacted us with concerns and no doubt many others will have further questions and concerns. It’s vital that families receive the care and support they need to get through this worrying time.”
“In the meantime we continue to support those we represent and are determined to provide them with the answers they deserve. We also continue to campaign for improvements, particularly around maternity safety, demonstrated by our submission to the Health Committee’s Maternity Safety Call for Evidence.” Sarah Sharples - Senior Associate Solicitor
The CQC’s unannounced inspection of the Trust in February and March 2022 covered medical care, surgery, maternity care as well as urgent and emergency services.
Not enough staff with the correct qualifications or skills to keep women and babies safe as well as concerns over lack of vital equipment were among the issues identified in maternity.
Between April and November 2021 five patients treated by the trust suffered major haemorrhages after giving birth, resulting in unplanned hysterectomies.
The CQC found failings in relation to the Trust’s ability to investigate care afforded to patients and noted that not all five incidents were reported as serious or investigated and action plans weren’t completed quickly. In one case, a woman’s lifesaving surgery was delayed because there was no hysterectomy kit in that part of the hospital.
Wider the CQC found staff morale was low with some workers reporting a culture of bullying and discrimination. High waiting times were also highlighted, with only 13 per cent of patients showing symptoms of breast cancer being seen within two weeks – compared to the national target of 93 per cent.
The Trust said work was under way to address “key areas for further improvement.”