Staff at a Midlands hospital trust told regulators they had repeatedly raised safety concerns internally without action being taken.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has downgraded maternity services at Worcestershire Acute Hospital from “good” to “requires improvement” following an inspection prompted by the whistleblowers’ concerns.
Staff had reported “continuously escalating” staffing level concerns to senior managers, but said they got “no response”. Some said they were fearful of raising concerns internally.
Whistleblowers also reported delays to induction of labour, with examples of women waiting up to a week to be induced instead of one to two days. Managers said women who suffered delays were risk assessed.
The CQC also identified a risk women might not be informed of significant harm caused to them or their babies following an incident, due to the way the trust was grading some babies who were admitted to the neonatal unit. However, it added: “When things went wrong, staff apologised and gave patients honest information and suitable support.”
The report added the trust’s leaders were aware of the challenges in maternity, but “timely” action was not always taken to address the concerns.
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Source: HSJ, 19 February 2021