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Maternity unit rated ‘inadequate’ after delayed Caesarean warning

A trust’s main maternity unit has been rated “inadequate” and given a warning notice amid concerns delayed Caesarean sections are causing harm to babies.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) told Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust to make significant improvements in how quickly it carries out emergency C-sections, the regulator said in a report today.

The trust was also told to improve risk management, governance and oversight of services at its Tunbridge Wells Hospital.

Inspectors found between April and July last year, 42% of “category 1” emergency Caesareans – defined as those posing an immediate threat to the life of the woman or foetus — at the Tunbridge Wells Hospital were delayed. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says these should be carried out “as soon as possible and in most situations within 30 minutes of making the decision”.

The report identified “ongoing recurrent delays” to emergency Caesareans overnight, as the trusts did not have a second theatre available.

This “meant an increased risk of harm, including cases reported by the service such as babies with ‘acute foetal hypoxia’ had emerged due to delayed births”, the inspection report said.

It also criticised the trust for not responding to a high level of post-partum haemorrhages, some of which had caused “moderate” harm.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 16 February 2024


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