Two more NHS maternity units have been criticized by care watchdogs over concerns about safety, with inspectors highlighting poor cultures and bullying as well as staffing shortages, harassing midwives.
The Care Quality Commission has published two reports on inspections in obstetric services at Queens Hospital, Romford, Essex and the Manor Hospital in Walsall.
Both hospitals have been told they must reform and the latest criticism of the CQC follows its decision to inspect dozens of maternity units amid fears about the safety of maternity care across England.
Inspectors at Queen’s Hospital called for reform by downgrading the unit from good and warned that women were not receiving safe care and that there was a negative culture.
Inspectors found that staff were not always completing risk assessments and there was no clear record of whether consultants were attending to women with bleeding after giving birth. The heart monitor markings weren’t always double checked and the guidance was out of date.
They also found that some training was not up to date and that learning from incidents when things went wrong was not shared with employees. The CQC noted that staff does not always feel respected or valued by the leadership team.
Nigel Acheson, CQC’s deputy chief inspector for hospitals, said: “Learning deficits meant that some incidents were repeated as no steps were taken to reduce the potential risks that are ongoing for women and their babies.
“It was also complicated by the fact that employees did not always feel able to speak up about concerns. They also told inspectors that even when they did, they didn’t always get a response or were told that any action had been taken as a result of raising these concerns.
“Staff also told us that they were not supported by or listened to by senior leaders and that the department had a bad culture that included bullying.”
Since the inspection, the trust has brought in a psychologist and appointed an obstetrician to deal with the culture in the medical team.
The CQC at Manor Hospital in Walsall said it found that staff were supportive of each other, but there was evidence that fewer staff was causing a deterioration in the quality of care provided.
Fiona Allinson, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals at CQC, said: “Some staff and midwives were clearly upset and disappointed when they talked about their experiences, with each area we identified as low staffing as the main risk. COVID The number of vacancies was ramped up by employees who were self-isolating due to -19.
“Managers did not always make accurate calculations and ensured that a sufficient number of midwives, nursing assistants and care support workers were needed for each shift in accordance with national guidance.
“This meant that specialist midwives were often moved from their roles elsewhere to cover empty shifts, leaving gaps in specialist services. We saw two incidents where midwifery mothers and infants delivered baby food. were unable to provide assistance to the people as they were working elsewhere.”
Some midwives reported that concerns were not always acted upon due to ineffective relations with leaders, while others reported that no support was provided when they raised concerns.
The CQC after its oversight has called for better leadership in maternity services. The regulator has warned more than two-fifths of NHS maternity units in England need to improve their safety.
Its concern comes at a time when the government is facing mounting calls to invest more money in maternity services. NHS England has raised £95m in spending this year to help fund 1,000 more midwives and invest in safety training.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /