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Repeated maternity failings uncovered in Sheffield NHS trust


Hospital inspectors have uncovered repeated maternity failings and expressed serious concern about the safety of mothers and babies in Sheffield just days after a damning report warned there had been hundreds of avoidable baby deaths in Shrewsbury.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) found Sheffield teaching hospitals NHS foundation trust, one of the largest NHS trusts in England, had failed to make the required improvements to services when it visited in October and November, despite receiving previous warnings from the watchdog.

As well as concerns across the wider trust, a focused inspection on maternity raised significant issues about the way its service is run. When it came to medical staff at the Sheffield trust, the “service did not have enough medical staff with the right qualifications, skills, and experience to keep women and babies safe from avoidable harm and to provide the right care and treatment”, the report said.

Inspectors found that staff were not interpreting, classifying or escalating measures of a baby’s heart rate properly, an issue that was raised by Donna Ockenden in her review of the Shrewsbury scandal.

Despite fetal monitoring being highlighted as an area needing attention in 2015 and 2021, the most recent inspection “highlighted that the service continued to lack urgency and pace in implementing actions and recommendations to mitigate these risks, therefore exposing patients to risk of harm”.

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Source: The Guardian, 5 April 2022

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