Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust Faces Maternity Services Crackdown

The Care Quality Commission (‘CQC’) has taken enforcement action against Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust after significant concerns were identified with the maternity services at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. This was highlighted in a recent BBC News report.

CQC inspectors identified significant concerns with Gloucester Royal Hospital:
• They weren’t managing emergencies well.
• They didn’t assess pregnant women properly.
• They didn’t monitor babies closely enough.
• The hospital didn’t make the improvements the CQC asked for.

The maternity services in Stroud and Cheltenham won’t open this year because they do not have enough staff.

Maternity services at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital remain open but they have been told to make urgent improvements and update the CQC monthly.

Some of the improvements required are:
• Making sure fetal heart rate monitoring is accurately assessed and escalated to senior clinicians in a timely manner to ensure it complies with national guidance.
• Checking that pregnant women are assessed and appropriately managed for the risk of bleeding.
• Staff to check for blood clots.
• Ensuring proper inductions to the maternity unit are given to agency staff.

The Trust has said that action has been taken over the last year and they are disappointed that they have not provided enough evidence of stronger reporting processes and shared learning.

The Trust has also requested that the Maternity and Newborn Safety Investigations Programme investigate maternal deaths at the hospital.

Sadly, the significant concerns identified with the maternity services at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital are not unusual and similar failings have been identified at many other Trusts. A recent episode of BBC Panorama which investigated the maternity care crisis that is putting women and babies at risk.

Widespread change and learning are urgently needed for the women and babies at risk.

If you or anyone you know has experienced problems with maternity care, then our specialist medical negligence team is highly experienced in birth injury cases and able to provide impartial advice on potential claims.


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