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Service rated ‘good’ despite ‘weaknesses in culture’

A trust’s maternity services were rated ‘good’ despite an independent report finding ‘weaknesses in the culture’ and ‘defensive and fractious’ behaviours, HSJ has learned.

As previously reported, former staff at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospital Trust had raised concerns with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over what they described as a “toxic management culture” and “unsafe” staffing levels in the trusts maternity service. Particular concerns were raised around community midwifery services.

This prompted an unannounced inspection by the CQC in May, which found “low morale and negative culture” in the services. However, the CQC ultimately concluded the trust was taking positive steps to address the problems and rated its maternity services “good” overall, as well as for leadership and safety.

Some frontline staff in the service have questioned those findings, however, and pointed to an independent review which was conducted in the early months of 2021.

This review, carried out by independent consultant Debbie Graham and seen by HSJ, concluded there was “evidence of weaknesses in the culture; evidenced in the behaviours of some staff which appears to go unaddressed; a lack of strong, visible leadership; a lack of a shared vision; the finding that some staff have a fear of ‘speaking up’; and poor communication systems.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 20 September 2021


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