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Found 90 results
  1. News Article
    Parents and professionals have been devastated by the impact of the pandemic on some of the UK’s most vulnerable patients Kelly Stoor gave birth to her daughter, Kaia, 14 weeks early. On 12 March, the midwife held her up for Kelly to see before whisking Kaia off to the neonatal unit for critical care. Kaia became seriously ill and was transferred to a hospital in Southampton, 50 miles away from home, for specialist treatment just before lockdown was imposed on 23 March. While there, she teetered on the edge of life and death for weeks and underwent life-saving surgery twice. The impact on Kelly, her husband, Max, and their other three children has been enormous. Hospital restrictions in April dictated that only one parent was allowed to visit. Both parents were not able not hold their daughter for the first time until 88 days after she was born. “It was extremely difficult,” says Kelly. “I wasn’t allowed to hold her because of Covid. I had to wear gloves if I was going to touch her. We didn’t know if she was going to make it, and Max and I weren’t allowed in together to be with her. There was one time I was with her for three hours and I couldn’t cope any more. I wanted to break.” Kelly is not alone. In the UK, at least 25,000 children are living with conditions that require palliative care support and their lives, along with those of their families, have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic and accompanying restrictions. A report by Rainbow Trust found that lockdown was a distressing experience for many; 80% of those surveyed by the charity in April said their situation was worse or much worse than before lockdown. Nearly 60% of parents, meanwhile, say that their mental health is worse than before the pandemic. Families have had to take on the strain of caring full-time for a child with a life-limiting illness, such as cancer or neurological conditions, with little to no support. There has been no respite, explains Dr Jon Rabbs, a consultant paediatrician and trustee for Rainbow Trust. When lockdown was announced, many community healthcare services had to stop face to face contact and special schools which supported children were also closed. “One of my families is at breaking point, they are so exhausted and worried,” he says. In child healthcare there have been delays, he says. Urgent treatment is always available but follow-up care has been cancelled or delayed in some places. “In my practice we have not missed any significant relapses,” he adds. “But imagine the worry not knowing whether things were going to be OK or not.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 22 October 2020
  2. Content Article
    LATEST Patient Safety Weekly Update #5 (15 October 2020) Patient Safety Weekly Update #4 (8 October 2020) Patient Safety Weekly Update #3 (1 October 2020) Patient Safety Weekly Update #2 (23 September 2020) Patient Safety Weekly Update #1 (17 September 2020)
  3. News Article
    The government must immediately deliver a new deal for social care with major investment and better terms for workers, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said, as it warned that the sector is “fragile” heading into a second wave of coronavirus infections. In a challenge to ministers, the regulator’s chief executive, Ian Trenholm, said overdue reform of the care sector “needs to happen now – not at some point in the future”. Boris Johnson said in his first speech as prime minister, in July 2019: “We will fix the crisis in social care once and for all.” But no reform has yet been proposed, and more than 15,000 people have died from COVID-19 in England’s care homes. Trenholm said Covid risked turning inequalities in England’s health services from “faultlines into chasms” as the CQC published its annual State of Care report on hospitals, GPs and care services. The report reveals serious problems with mental health, maternity services and emergency care before the pandemic, and says these areas must not be allowed to fall further behind. The regulator argued that the health system’s response to the pandemic needs to change. After focusing on protecting NHS services from being overwhelmed, health leaders must now adapt to prevent people who need help for non-Covid reasons from being left behind, it said. These include people whose operations were cancelled and people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities, and people living in deprived areas who have suffered more severely from the impact of Covid. “Covid is magnifying inequalities across the health and care system – a seismic upheaval which has disproportionately affected some more than others,” said Trenholm. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 16 October 2020
  4. Content Article
    Quality of care before the pandemic The care that people received in 2019/20 was mostly of good quality However, while quality was largely maintained compared with the previous year, there was no improvement overall Before the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, we remained concerned about a number of issues: the poorer quality of care that is harder to plan for the need for care to be delivered in a more joined-up way the continued fragility of adult social care provision the struggles of the poorest services to make any improvement significant gaps in access to good quality care, especially mental health care persistent inequalities in some aspects of care The impact of the coronavirus pandemic As the pandemic gathered pace, health and care staff across all roles and services showed resilience under unprecedented pressures and adapted quickly to work in different ways to keep people safe. In hospitals and care homes, staff worked long hours in difficult circumstances to care for people who were very sick with COVID-19 and, despite their efforts to protect people, tragically they saw many of those they cared for die. Some staff also had to deal with the loss of colleagues to COVID. A key challenge for providers has been maintaining a safe environment – managing the need to socially distance or isolate people due to COVID-19. Good infection prevention and control practice has been vital. The crisis has accelerated innovation that had previously proved difficult to mainstream, such as GP practices moving rapidly to remote consultations. The changes have proved beneficial to, and popular with, many. But many of these innovations exclude people who do not have good digital access, and some have been rushed into place during the pandemic. The pandemic has had a major impact on elective care and urgent services such as cancer and cardiac services, and there is huge pent-up demand for care and treatment that has been postponed. The pandemic is having a disproportionate effect on some groups of people, and is shining a light on existing inequality in the health and social care system. It is vital that we understand how we can use this knowledge to move towards fairer and more equitable care, where nobody’s needs go unmet. It is important that the learning and innovation that has been seen during the pandemic is used to develop health and social care for the future. New approaches to care, developed in response to the pandemic and shown to have potential, must be fully evaluated before they become established practice.
  5. News Article
    The government has been told it is ‘not sustainable’ to continue to delay its response to a major review on patient safety as ‘babies are still being damaged’. The Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review spoke to more than 700 people, mostly women who suffered avoidable harm from surgical mesh implants, pregnancy tests and an anti-epileptic drug, and criticised “a culture of dismissive and arrogant attitudes” including the “unacceptable labelling of many symptoms as “attributable to ‘women’s problems’”. The review’s author Baroness Julia Cumberlege told HSJ that “time is marching on” for the Department of Health and Social Care to implement the recommendations of her July report, which include setting up a new independent patient safety commissioner. The Conservative peer said pressure was building on government to adopt the findings of the review, since it had been endorsed by Royal Colleges and has already been adopted by the Scottish government. She said the government had given “evasive” answers in parliament on the issue. In an exclusive interview with HSJ, Baroness Cumberlege said: There is a crowded field of regulators but “there’s a void” for a service that listens and responds to patients’ safety concerns. She feels “diminished” that women’s concerns are still being dismissed by clinicians, but said young doctors are a cause for hope. She is “very optimistic” report will be implemented – but the NHS has to have the will to make changes. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 13 October 2020
  6. News Article
    One of the largest studies of its kind suggests that most pregnant women who become infected with the coronavirus will have mild cases but suffer prolonged symptoms that may linger for two months or longer in some cases. The study, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, found that most women who participated had mild cases of COVID-19 — a finding consistent with previous studies. Among the nearly 600 women followed, only 5% were hospitalised and 2% were admitted to intensive care units. Despite the mildness of their cases, 25% of the participants continued to experience symptoms eight weeks after becoming sick. The median length of symptoms was 37 days. Although pregnancy is known to cause major changes to the immune system, the length of time for continuing symptoms was surprising, said co-principal investigator Vanessa Jacoby, vice chair of research in the obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences department at the University of California at San Francisco. Read full story Source: The Washington Post, 10 October 2020
  7. News Article
    A baby died during birth because of systemic errors in one of Britain's largest NHS hospitals, months after staff had warned hospital chiefs that the maternity unit was “unsafe”, an inquest has found. A coroner ruled that neglect by staff at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust contributed to the death of baby Wynter Andrews last year. She was delivered by caesarean section on 15 September after significant delays. Her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and leg, resulting in her being starved of oxygen. In a verdict on Wednesday, assistant coroner Laurinda Bower said Wynter would have survived if action had been taken sooner, criticising the units “unsafe culture” and warning that her death was not an isolated incident. Wynter’s mother, Sarah Andrews, called on the health secretary, Matt Hancock, to investigate the trust’s maternity unit. She said: “We know Wynter isn’t an isolated incident; there have been other baby deaths arising because of the trust’s systemic failings. She was a victim of the trust’s unsafe culture and practices.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 7 October 2020
  8. News Article
    The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is to target poorly performing NHS maternity units after a series of maternity scandals. It is drawing up plans to spot high-risk maternity units and will use data on their patient outcomes and culture to draw up a list of facilities for targeted inspection. The watchdog has voiced concerns over the wider safety of maternity units in the NHS after a number of high-profile maternity scandals in the past year. Almost two-fifths of maternity units, 38%, are rated as “requires improvement” by the CQC for their safety. The Independent has joined with charity Baby Lifeline to call on the government to reinstate a national maternity safety training fund for doctors and midwives. The fund was found to be successful but axed after just one year. On Tuesday, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, Professor Ted Baker, told MPs on the Commons Health and Social Care Committee that he was concerned about the safety of mothers and babies in some maternity units which had persistent problems. “Those problems are of dysfunction, poor leadership, of poor culture, of parts of the services not working well together,” he said. “This is not just a few units; this is a significant cultural issue across maternity services.” Now the CQC has confirmed it is planning to draw up a list of poor-performing units or hospitals where it suspects there could be safety issues. The new inspection programme will specifically look at issues around outcomes and teamworking culture although the full methodology has yet to be decided. Read full story Source: The Independent, 4 October 2020
  9. News Article
    Almost nine in ten maternity services experienced a decline in emergency pregnancy appointments during the pandemic due to women avoiding healthcare providers amid coronavirus chaos, a study has found. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, who carried out the research, said women refrained from attending appointments due to anxiety around going into a hospital and fears of overwhelming the NHS, as well as not being clear if the appointments were essential. Researchers found 70% of maternity services reported a reduction in antenatal appointments, while 60% of units stopped the option of giving birth at home or in a midwife-led unit. Over half of services said postnatal appointments after childbirth had been reduced. The findings come as maternity services warn staff must not be sent to work in other parts of the hospital in the wake of a second wave of coronavirus. Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives, who together represent the overwhelming bulk of maternity staff, say there must not be a repeat of the acute and widespread maternity staff shortages which played out during the health emergency’s peak. Read full story Source: The Independent, 30 September 2020
  10. Content Article
    Health and Social Care Select Committee This is a cross-party body that is responsible for scrutinising the work of the Department of Health and Social Care and its associated public bodies in the UK. It is composed of MPs and examines government policy, spending and administration on behalf of the electorate and the House of Commons.[1] Safety of maternity services in England The Committee opened an inquiry into the Safety of maternity services in England on the 24 July 2020. The intention of this inquiry is to examine evidence relating to ongoing concerns around recurring failings in maternity services, with MPs considering whether clinical negligence and litigation processes need to be changed to improve the safety of maternity services, as well as the extent to which a “blame culture” affects medical advice and decision-making.[2] Formal meeting (oral evidence session) - Tuesday 29 September 2020 In this video of the first oral evidence session of this inquiry, the Committee heard from: Michelle Hemmington, Co-founder at Campaign for Safer Births Dr Bill Kirkup, Chairman at Morecambe Bay maternity investigation and East Kent maternity investigation Professor Ted Baker, Chief Inspector of Hospitals at Care Quality Commission Professor Jacqueline Dunkley Bent, Chief Midwifery Office at NHS England and NHS Improvement Dr Matthew Jolly, National Clinical Director for Maternity and Women's Health at NHS England and NHS Improvement References UK Parliament, Health and Social Care Committee, Last Accessed 1 October 2020. UK Parliament, Safety of Maternity Services in England, Last Accessed 1 October 2020.
  11. News Article
    Too many English hospitals risk repeating maternity scandals involving avoidable baby deaths and brain injury because staff are too frightened to raise concerns, the chief inspector of hospitals has warned. Speaking at the opening session of an inquiry into the safety of maternity units by the health select committee, Prof Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals for the Care Quality Commission, said: “There are too many cases when tragedy strikes because services are not not doing their job well enough.” Baker admitted that 38% of such services were deemed to require improvement for patient safety and some could get even worse. “There is a significant number of services that are not achieving the level of safety they should,” he said. He said many NHS maternity units were in danger of repeating fatal mistakes made at what became the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS foundation trust (UHMBT), despite a high profile 2015 report finding that a “lethal mix” of failings at almost every level led to the unnecessary deaths of one mother and 11 babies. “Five years on from Morecombe Bay we have still not learned all the lessons,” Baker said. “[The] Morecombe Bay [report] did talk about about dysfunctional teams and midwives and obstetricians not working effectively together, and poor investigations without learning taking place. And I think those elements are what we are still finding in other services.” Baker urged hospital managers to encourage staff to whistleblow about problems without fear of recrimination. He said: “The reason why people are frightened to raise concerns is because of the culture in the units in which they work. A healthy culture would mean that people routinely raise concerns. But raising concerns is regarded as being a difficult member of the team.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 29 September 2020
  12. Content Article
    Seven features of safety in maternity units 1. Commitment to safety and improvement at all levels, with everyone involved 2. Technical competence, supported by formal training and informal learning 3. Teamwork, cooperation, and positive working relationships 4. Constant reinforcing of safe, ethical, and respectful behaviours 5. Multiple problem-sensing systems, used as basis of action 6. Systems and processes designed for safety, and regularly reviewed and optimised 7. Effective coordination and ability to mobilise quickly
  13. Content Article
    Join the Motherhood Group from the 28 September as they continue to spread awareness and amplify the black motherhood mental health experience in the UK. The week includes a series of planned events covering a variety of topics, listed below. 28th September - Why do we need a black maternal mental health week? 29th September - Self love - what does it look like? 30th September - Speaking out - sharing our stories and amplifying our voices 1st October - Good support - offering guidance and signposting 2nd October - Strong Black Woman Myth and Cultural Factors 3rd October - Creating Safe spaces - Black Mum Fest 2020 4th October - Self-reflection - what can we do better to improve BMMH. You can register and find out more about who is speaking throughout Black Maternal Mental Health Week, by following the link below.
  14. News Article
    Parents affected by serious failings in maternity units at a Welsh health board will be told of the findings of an independent investigation this autumn. Ten more cases at units run by Cwm Taf Morgannwg in the south Wales valleys have been found by a review, bringing the total number to 160. Maternity services at hospitals in Merthyr Tydfil and Llantrisant were placed in special measures last year. Failings at the maternity units were discovered after an investigation by two Royal Colleges, which found mothers faced "distressing experiences and poor care" between 2016 and 2018. The services at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Llantrisant and Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil were also found to be "extremely dysfunctional" and under extreme pressure. A number of recommendations were set to make the service safe for pregnant women and those giving birth at the hospitals. The Welsh Government then appointed the Independent Maternity Services Oversight Panel (IMSOP) to look back at cases, including neonatal deaths. Mick Giannasi, the chairman of IMSOP, said: "In the early autumn, we will start writing to mothers to say we have reviewed your care and this is what we found. "That will be quite distressing for the women because they will have to revisit all those things again. "But it's going to be a difficult period for staff as well because we know that the Royal Colleges review was very difficult for staff - some of the messages that they had to hear were very challenging and those things may be played out again." Read full story Source: BBC News, 28 September 2020
  15. Content Article
    Over 200,000 babies were born when lockdown was at its most restrictive, between 23 March and 4 July. The survey of 5,474 respondents suggests that the impact of COVID-19 on these babies could be severe and may be longlasting. The report found: 6 in 10 (61%) parents shared significant concerns about their mental health. A quarter (24%) of pregnant respondents who cited mental health as a main concern said they would like help with this, rising to almost a third (32%) of those with a baby. Only around 3 in 10 (32%) were confident that they could find help for their mental health if they needed it. Almost 9 in 10 (87%) parents were more anxious as a result of COVID-19 and the lockdown. There was a notable variation among respondents who reported feeling ‘a lot’ more anxious: White 42%, Black/ Black British 46%, Asian/Asian British 50%, parents 25 years old or under 54%, and parents with a household income of less than £16k 55%.
  16. Content Article
    Key findings The Covid-19 pandemic has put the UK health and care workforce under unprecedented pressure. The workforce had been struggling to cope even before the pandemic took hold. Staff stress, absenteeism, turnover and intentions to quit had reached alarmingly high levels in 2019, with large numbers of nurse and midwife vacancies across the health and care system. And then the pandemic struck. The impact of the pandemic on the nursing and midwifery workforce has been unprecedented and will be felt for a long time to come. The crisis has also laid bare and exacerbated longstanding problems faced by nurses and midwives, including inequalities, inadequate working conditions and chronic excessive work pressures. The health and wellbeing of nurses and midwives are essential to the quality of care they can provide for people and communities, affecting their compassion, professionalism and effectiveness. This review investigated how to transform nurses’ and midwives’ workplaces so that they can thrive and flourish and are better able to provide the compassionate, high-quality care that they wish to offer. Nurse and midwives have three core work needs that must be met to ensure wellbeing and motivation at work, and to minimise workplace stress: autonomy, belonging and contribution. This report sets out eight key recommendations designed to meet these three core work needs. These recommendations focus on: authority, empowerment and influence; justice and fairness; work conditions and working schedules; teamworking; culture and leadership; workload; management and supervision; and learning, education and development.
  17. News Article
    Hospitals have been ordered to allow partners and visitors onto maternity wards so pregnant women are not forced to give birth on their own. NHS England and NHS Improvement have written to all of the directors of nursing and heads of midwifery to ask them to urgently change the rules around visiting. The letter, which is dated 19 September and seen by The Independent, says NHS guidance was released on 8 September so partners and visitors can attend maternity units now “the peak of the first wave has passed”. “We thank you and are grateful the majority of services have quickly implemented this guidance and relaxed visiting restrictions,” it reads. “To those that are still working through the guidance, this must happen now so that partners are able to attend maternity units for appointments and births.” The letter adds: “Pregnancy can be a stressful time for women and their families, and all the more so during a pandemic, so it is vital that everything possible is done to support them through this time.” Make Birth Better, a campaign group which polled 458 pregnant women for a new study they shared exclusively, said mothers-to-be have been forced to give birth without partners and have had less access to pain relief in the wake of the public health crisis. Half of those polled were forced to alter their own childbirth plans as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak – while almost half of those who were dependant on support from a specialist mental health midwife said help had stopped. Read full story Source: The Independent, 23 September 2020
  18. News Article
    Covid has brought many hidden tragedies: elderly residents in care homes bereft of family visits, families in quarantine missing loved one’s funerals, and mums forced to go through labour alone. Much of this has been necessary, however painful, but Jeremy Hunt fears we’re getting the balance badly wrong in maternity care. That’s why he is backing The Mail on Sunday’s campaign to end lone births, which has been championed in Parliament by Alicia Kearns. Infection control in hospitals is critically important, but mothers’ mental health can’t be pushed down the priority list. Imagine the agony of a new mum sent for a scan on her own, only to be told that her much longed-for baby has no heartbeat. Or the woman labouring in agony for hours who is told she is not yet sufficiently dilated to merit her partner joining her for moral support. "I have heard some truly heartbreaking stories, which quite frankly should have no place in a modern, compassionate health service. One woman who gave birth to a stillborn baby alone at 41 weeks; another woman who was left alone after surgery due to a miscarriage at 12 weeks," says Jeremy. Perhaps most concerningly of all, there are reports of partners being asked to leave their new babies and often traumatised mothers almost immediately after birth. That means they miss out on vital bonding time and mums lose crucial support to help them recover mentally and physically, in some cases with partners not allowed back to meet their new child properly for several days. "This is a question of basic compassion and decency – the very values that the NHS embodies and the reason we’re all so proud of our universal health service – so we need every hospital to commit to urgent action without delay." Read full story Source: MailOnline, 19 September 2020
  19. News Article
    Yesterday marked the second World Patient Safety Day, and this year’s theme shined a light on health worker safety – those on the frontline of the pandemic have been selfless in their sacrifices to care for an ailing global population. What has become ever clearer is that a health system is nothing without those who work within it and that we must prioritise the safety and wellbeing of health workers, because without safe health workers we cannot have safe patients. Improving maternity safety has been a priority for some time – although rare, when things go wrong the consequences are unthinkable for families and the professionals caring for them. Maternity negligence makes up 50% of the total value of negligence claims across all NHS sectors, according to the latest NHS Resolution annual report and accounts. It states there were claims of around £2.4 billion in 2019/20, which is in the region of £6.5 million a day. This cost says nothing of the suffering families and professionals associated. However, without investing in the maternity frontline we cannot hope to make integral systemic changes to improve maternity safety and save mothers’ and babies’ lives, writes Sara Ledger, head of research and development at Baby Lifeline in the Independent. "We owe it to every mother and baby to rigorously and transparently scrutinise the safety of maternity services, which will be in no small way linked to the support staff receive." Read full story Source: The Independent, 17 September 2020
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