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CQC criticises care scandal trust for 'unsafe staffing'


The trust at the centre of a maternity scandal does not have enough midwifery staff to keep women and babies safe, a Care Quality Commission (CQC)inspection has revealed.

East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust relied on community midwives to fill slots at its acute unit, with some of them working 20-hour days after being called in to help cover and feeling outside of their competence.

The trust had suspended a midwife-led unit and diverted women in labour to other hospitals – and when the CQC raised the understaffing issue at its inspection in July, it suspended its home birth service. But the CQC found that the number of midwives and maternity workers on duty rarely matched planned numbers and managers rarely calculated staffing numbers accurately, with some elements of the workload not being factored in.

Lack of staff meant there was a risk to the safe assessment and monitoring of women and babies at the trust’s William Harvey Hospital in Ashford. Unqualified staff were having to deal with telephone queries from women who needed advice and support.

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Source: HSJ, 15 October 2021

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