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Hospital to send hundreds of births elsewhere

The trust at the centre of a maternity scandal is trying to reduce the number of births at its main maternity units by 650 a year following a highly critical Care Quality Commission (CQC) visit.

East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust is looking at ways to reduce pressure on staff at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, including stopping bookings from women who are “out of area”. The unit currently has around 3,600 births a year, of which 200 are out-of-area bookings. The trust is also seeking to send more births to its other site, in Thanet.

It comes after the CQC used enforcement powers to order immediate improvements at the unit, following a visit in January, when it had “significant concerns about the ongoing wider risk of harm to patients”. 

Earlier this year, the trust’s new chief executive, Tracey Fletcher, held what board papers describe as an “emotional” meeting with 135 midwives, other staff and senior Royal College of Midwives representatives. She was told by staff that the service at the WHH was not felt to be safe due to a lack of substantive staff, high acuity of patients and the level of activity.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 28 April 2023


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