Improvements needed at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust’s Maternity Services following CQC Inspection

Following a number of maternity scandals at hospitals across the country, an inspection report of University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust by the CQC on 20 September 2023, found that the maternity services at two out of three Leicester hospitals had deteriorated and did not keep women and babies safe. The two hospitals are Leicester Royal Infirmary and Leicester General Hospital which have both had their maternity service downgraded to ‘Requires Improvement’.

Specifically, the CQC found that “both services were regularly understaffed which placed people and their babies at risk”. It also found numerous examples of delays in maternity triage, issues with cleanliness and medical records not being clear or up to date and stored insecurely. They also considered that action to reduce risks and make improvement had not been identified.

Some of the figures in the report are devastating – in a 6-month period between July 2022 and December 2022 there were 51 baby deaths and only learning, action, reports or further discussion (i.e. actions to mitigate/reduce risks and make improvements) were identified and undertaken for 22 of them. Learning from incidents is a keystone for patient safety and what many of our clients’ state is the reason for seeking legal advice as they don’t want it to happen to anyone else.

When you then read that the CQC noted deterioration in mums was not always being identified or acted on quickly enough, these figures are less surprising. We hear so often that clinical staff fail to listen to patients or their families and there are many cases where has been shown to increase the risk of patient harm – we are hoping that “Martha’s rule” will be implemented across all services, including maternity.

This is another wake-up call for maternity care and yet again highlights the need for safe care to ensure trust in the system.

The CQC did note a recent change in the leadership team and that the senior leaders had started to make plans and prioritise the main risks which include improving staffing levels.

A link to the summary of the CQC’s findings can be found here.

If you have been affected by any of the issues highlighted in this article, or any other maternity services, please contact our team for an initial no-obligation discussion.’

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