Inadequate maternity services at University Hospital of North Durham and Darlington Memorial Hospital
Healthcare lawyers have voiced their concern at inspection reports for maternity provision at the University Hospital of North Durham (UHND) and Darlington Memorial Hospital (DMH).
Posted on 20 September 2023
Maternity care at both hospitals has been rated inadequate after Care Quality Commission inspectors visited the units as part of the ongoing national maternity inspection.
Clinical negligence lawyers at law firm Leigh Day say that against the backdrop of worsening maternity care across England, the ratings for UHND and DMH are worrying for families.
Inspectors at Durham raised concerns about safety, training, equipment checks and cleaning records.
They questioned leadership and governance, saying risk to mothers was not always managed well and the service did not always engage well with women and the community to take all vulnerable people into consideration.
At Darlington, inspectors similarly raised concerns about safety, saying staff shortages increased risks to women and the staff did not always manage safety incidents well, nor learn from them. Leaders “did not operate effective governance systems” and did not always ensure staff were competent.
Healthcare lawyers at Leigh Day, based at their offices in Leeds, said the inspectors’ findings reflected those raised at other health trusts across the country and added to the growing picture of unsafe maternity provision.
Leigh Day solicitor Matthew Westlake said:
“It is extremely concerning to learn that conditions at UHND and DMH are putting women and babies at increased risk of harm. It is even more concerning to learn that where poor outcomes are experienced, lessons are not necessarily being learned.
“The themes within these reports are similar to those that have been raised at other trusts across the country, and families will want to know that the issues highlighted are being addressed as urgently as possible in order to maintain patient safety.”
If you are concerned about the care you have received from maternity services at University Hospital of North Durham and Darlington Memorial Hospital and want legal advice, please get in touch with Matt Westlake who is based at Leigh Day’s Leeds office.
Matthew Westlake is a senior associate solicitor in the medical negligence department.
Crisis in maternity care
Medical negligence solicitor Frankie Rhodes considers answers that are needed to the crisis in maternity care