CQC Raises Equipment And Staffing Concerns Following Unannounced Inspection
Specialist lawyers have spoken of their concern after maternity services at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary were classed as ‘requiring improvement.’
Health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, has published its findings following an unannounced inspection at the hospital run by The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The CQC said more work was needed to address safety concerns. Inspectors found some medical equipment was out of date. Daily checks on emergency equipment were inadequate, potentially putting patients’ health at risk, the CQC said.
Not all staff had training in key skills and the service didn’t always have enough midwifery staff. Inspectors also said they found unsecured and out of date medicines in some areas.
The overall rating for Royal Victoria Infirmary remained as outstanding, the CQC said.
Newcastle medical negligence lawyers call for CQC recommendations to be upheld
Expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office have represented and continue to represent families affected by maternity care issues at the Trust with the aim of supporting those families but also with the hope that raising these issues affects positive change so others don’t have to suffer the same outcomes.
Following the CQC’s inspection, the legal experts are calling on the Trust to ensure it implements the recommendations made in the report.
Samuel Hill is a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who represents North East families with concerns over maternity care.
Expert Opinion“Patient safety should be the fundamental priority in all care, therefore, the CQC’s findings are extremely worrying. What’s of particular concern is how safety issues identified could potentially have put patients’ health at risk.
“Sadly through our work we too often see the devastating consequences families are left to face following issues in maternity care. Behind each case is a human story of how families have been devastated by issues, many of which are often avoidable.
“It’s now vital that the recommendations made by the CQC are introduced by the Trust and staff are supported to ensure they’re upheld at all times. The wellbeing of hospital staff is paramount in patient safety.
“As we continue to campaign for improvements in maternity services nationally, we continue to support families who have care concerns so they can at least be provided with the answers they deserve.” Samuel Hill
Royal Victoria Infirmary CQC inspection
The inspection was carried out in January as part of CQC’s national maternity services inspection programme. It is the first time maternity services at Royal Victoria Infirmary have been rated as a standalone service. Previously, maternity and gynaecology services were inspected and rated together.
The CQC also found the service didn’t always control infection risk well, there wasn’t a robust and formal triage process for women who attended the maternity assessment unit and some staff didn’t feel respected, supported, and valued.
However, inspectors did find that staff worked together for the benefit of patients and managed safety well. The service learned lessons when there were safety incidents, the CQC said.
The CQC said the Trust must take action to ensure staff complete daily checks of emergency equipment which needed to be safe and in date. Medicine should be managed properly and safely. Out of date medicines needed to be removed and other medications stored securely. Staff appraisals also needed to be completed.
The CQC also recommended the Trust should complete a number of further actions. These included staff complete mandatory training, all areas are clean to prevent the spread of infection and the Trust should continue to work to introduce a robust and formal triage system.
Trust says it has taken action but adds CQC rating not a 'fair reflection'
The Hospital Trust said it had taken "immediate action" in the key areas highlighted by the CQC but added it didn’t feel the rating was "a fair reflection".
Find out more about our expertise in supporting families affected by maternity care issues at our dedicated medical negligence section. Alternatively to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.