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East Kent: A decade of failure in maternity care

After health inspectors considered closing a maternity unit over safety fears, the BBC's Michael Buchanan looks at a near-decade of poor care at East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust.

"I've been telling you for months. The place is getting worse."

The message in February, which Michael received from a member of the maternity team, was stark but unsurprising. In a series of texts over the previous few months, the person had been getting increasingly concerned about what was happening at the East Kent trust.

The leadership is "totally ineffective" read one message. "How long do we have to keep hearing this narrative - we accept bad things happened, we have learned and are putting it right. Nothing changes."

Friday's report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is unfortunately just the latest marker in a near-decade of failure to improve maternity care at the trust. The revelation that inspectors considered closing the unit at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford comes nine years after the trust's head of midwifery made a similar recommendation for the same reasons - that it was a danger to women and babies. The failure to act decisively then allowed many poor practices to continue.

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Source: BBC News, 28 May 2023


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