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Thousands of women left waiting for induction due to staff shortages

Thousands of women are having induction of labour delayed because of a shortage of staff, raising concerns about the safety of them and their babies, HSJ has found.

The issue has been highlighted at seven hospitals in Care Quality Commission reports over the past six months, and HSJ has identified a further three trusts declaring they are concerned about it in their own board papers over the same period. 

 At University Hospitals of Leicester Trust, more than 1,300 “red flags” were raised in a five-month period due to delays in the induction of labour, linked to staffing levels, the CQC said earlier this month. Most were dealys in continuing inductions, and a smaller number were delays between admission and beginning an induction. UHL indicated it had set its own “red flag” bar locally, so all the delays did not represent a national alert. 

Carolyn Jenkinson, CQC deputy director of secondary and specialist healthcare, told HSJ: “At some maternity services we’ve found women having to wait long periods of time to be induced or for transfer to a labour ward once the induction process has started, and in some cases a lack of effective monitoring during periods of delay.

“Where we have found concerns about delayed treatment – including induction of labour – we have made clear to those trusts that effective oversight of the issue is vital and that all action possible should be taken to mitigate any risk and keep people using the service safe.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 27 September 2023


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