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CQC inspectors say East Kent hospitals' maternity services require improvement

Maternity services at East Kent NHS Trust, which are currently under investigation relating to 15 baby deaths, have been rated as 'requiring improvement' by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Posted on 29 May 2020

Unannounced inspections were carried out at William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, Margate, in January this year, reported the BBC.
Maternity services at the hospitals were rated as requiring improvement overall, and requiring improvement in leadership and safety.
The East Kent NHS Trust faces a possible criminal prosecution and an independent review into the circumstances of 15 maternity deaths is due to begin next week, reported the BBC.  Earlier this year a BBC investigation found that at least seven preventable baby deaths may have occurred since 2016 at the hospitals.
The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch published its own report into maternity services at the trust in April.
The recent CQC inspection found the antenatal clinic at the William Harvey Hospital was “poorly maintained”, reported the BBC.
Kent Online quoted the CQC report which stated:
“Our inspectors found junior midwives, without the experience or knowledge to escalate complex emergency situations, working alone in day care…We found that because the risk to women was not effectively managed in antenatal services, midwives sometimes had to review and assess women, who may be at high risk, rather than a doctor.”

Leigh Day clinical negligence partner Emmalene Bushnell represents two families whose babies were stillborn at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate in 2016.
Emmalene said:
“This new report by the CQC is very disappointing and it must be devastating for families to hear that patient safety has not improved after the death of their babies.
“While we welcome the improvements that have been noted by the inspectors, it is very worrying that there are still areas that need to be improved, especially considering the assurances by Trust that changes have been made to improve patient safety and the investigation into 26 baby deaths at the hospital.”