Nottingham maternity services inspection finds 'insufficient' staffing levels

The Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham
-Credit: (Image: Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post)


The level of staffing across Nottingham's review-hit maternity departments is "insufficient", workers have told an inspection. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) carried out an unannounced assessment of the services at the Queen's Medical Centre and City Hospital last month after "concerning information" was passed on to the health watchdog.

Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) is subject to the largest maternity review in NHS history following hundreds of baby deaths and injuries, with almost 2,000 families' experiences being included. Nottinghamshire Police is also launching a criminal investigation into its maternity services.

The latest CQC inspection, which took place over June 18 and 19, was triggered by the watchdog receiving concerning information that the trust did not have sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent and experienced midwifery staff to meet patient's care and treatment needs.

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Feedback shared with NUH, which is disclosed in board papers, says staff at both hospitals reported insufficient staffing levels, as well as an insufficient mix of skills among workers. Concerns raised in the last inspection - carried out in April last year - were also found to be ongoing, including gaps when checking critical equipment and the monitoring of fridge temperatures.

NUH said a comprehensive action plan had been provided to the CQC that outlined actions that had already been taken. The trust said this plan would be overseen by its new Perinatal Improvement, Assurance and Oversight Group.

Progress was also outlined by the CQC, including positive feedback and experiences were relayed from mothers, with staff described as "fantastic without exception".

Improvements were also found in inclusivity at City Hospital and in documentation such as risk assessments at both sites. The last CQC inspection report into maternity, published last September, found improvements across NUH, resulting in the rating moving from 'inadequate' to 'requires improvement'.

Tracy Pilcher, chief nurse for NUH, said: “It is encouraging to see that there were some key areas of continued improvement identified in the high-level feedback provided following our latest unannounced CQC inspection. This included improvements to our risk assessments and documentation, positive feedback from the majority of our mothers and the response from our staff. This reflects the hard work and commitment of our teams at NUH to continue to improve our maternity services.

“However, we know that there is still some way to go, and we are thankful for the feedback and input from the CQC in identifying areas where we do need to continue to focus our improvement. A comprehensive action plan to address any areas of concern has already been created and will be monitored through our wider Maternity Improvement Programme. We will continue to share our progress and engage with the CQC, sharing their final report at our Board meeting once available.”

Families wishing to contact the independent review can do so by emailing nottsreview@donnaockenden.com or by filling out an online form here