Leaders of two maternity services have been told to take urgent action, after inspectors found understaffing and declining levels of care, despite safety warnings from midwives.
Maternity services at University Hospital North Durham and Darlington Memorial Hospital have been downgraded from “good” to “inadequate” in Care Quality Commission reports, published today.
The CQC noted a “concerning deterioration” in the care the two services provided, despite midwives telling managers they felt the service was unsafe.
Sue Jacques, chief executive of County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust, which runs the hospitals, said the CQC’s findings would be taken “extremely seriously”.
The reports also said staff reported “feeling ‘frozen out’ or that their concerns were ignored by leaders” and that staff felt “‘continuity of carer’ was the trust’s main focus, despite depleted safe staffing levels, skill mix, and staff being pulled in to cover acute areas on a frequent basis”. Last year, trusts were told not to pursue continuity of carer models – which were previously championed by NHS England – unless they had adequate staffing levels to do so safely.
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Source: HSJ, 15 September 2023