Maternity services rated good at two trusts

CQC inspections undertaken as part of national maternity programme

Published: 14 December 2022 Obstetrics and Gynaecology

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated a south-west London hospital’s maternity services good and found improvement at the Isle of Wight NHS Trust's maternity services.

The inspections were undertaken as part of CQC’s national maternity services inspection programme. The regulator says this "will provide an up-to-date view of the quality of hospital maternity care across the country, and a better understanding of what is working well to support learning and improvement".

Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

In addition to being rated good following overall following the inspection, Kingston Hospital’s maternity service was rated good for being well-led and requires improvement for being safe.

Carolyn Jenkinson, CQC head of hospital inspection, said:  “Overall, women and babies were receiving good care in Kingston Hospital’s maternity service.

“Behind this was leaders’ work to monitor the service’s effectiveness, and the way they used this information to meet women and babies’ needs. This helped staff feel valued and supported to focus on providing care.

Staffing shortages, high turnover and sickness rates

“However, there were areas of the service Kington Hospital NHS Foundation Trust must improve. These include addressing its staffing shortage, high turnover and sickness rates. Leaders had strategies to manage this, including supporting staff through appraisals and specialist training, but staffing pressures had led to the service closing to new admissions on several occasions.

“While staffing challenges are affecting the NHS and wider care sector across the country, every trust and healthcare provider must do all it can to ensure its care isn’t undermined by staffing constraints. 

“The trust must also ensure the service’s premises is secure to prevent unauthorised people accessing it.

“We continue to monitor the service, hospital and trust – including through future inspections – to support the safe and effective care and treatment people have a right to expect.”

Pregnant women having ultrasound scan

Improvement at Isle of Wight NHS Trust

Meanwhile the CQC has found improvements in Isle of Wight NHS Trust maternity care, following an inspection on 31st October and 1st November.   

Following this focused inspection maternity services were rated as good overall. The service was also rated as good for being safe and well-led.   

Jenkinson said:  “Maternity services across England have faced significant challenges, but the Isle of Wight Trust have worked hard to not only ensure the safety of women but also allow staff to achieve their roles in an environment encouraging learning and development.  

Well-run department

“We observed a well-run department with staff doing their very best for the women in their charge. There are some things that do need to be reviewed such as the evaluation of triage times and ensuring more clarity around the recording of medicines, but the trust leadership are already aware of these issues and working to resolve them. 

“Staff felt valued and respected, and there were instances of good collaboration in the interest of women and babies.   

“We continue to monitor it closely, including through future inspections, and we look forward to find what future improvements have been put in place.” 

Service failures

The inspections come in the wake of a number of well-publicised reports on maternity care which have highlighted consistent service failures, including the Ockenden review at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and most recently in East Kent.

As a result NHS England (NHSE) has established a Maternity Transformation Programme (MTP) and Maternity Transformation Team of which the CQC is a partner.

The Independent Maternity Working Group, of which the SoR is a member, was commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care and NHSE at the end of August 2022 to advise and support the MTP on the implementation of the Immediate and Essential Actions identified in the Ockenden Review and the East Kent independent investigation.

Image:  Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/DigitalVision/Getty Images