On the 15th June, the CQC came to inspect the maternity services at our hospital. The inspection team, comprised of a CQC lead inspector, a midwifery specialist advisor and an obstetrician specialist advisor, spent a day at the hospital, visiting the antenatal clinic, post-natal ward, triage, the maternity booking centre and the delivery suite, amongst other areas. They spoke with 28 staff, including matrons, midwives and service leads and reviewed various charts and documents.
The visit was carried out following the release of the Ockenden Report. As only 3 domains were inspected the rating of the service could not increase – but it could decrease. The findings of the report, published on 17th September shows that, thanks to the hard work of all the maternity staff, not only did our rating not decrease, the inspection team didn’t identify any ‘must dos’. They also classified four areas of practice within the service as ‘outstanding’.
“It’s a credit to all involved”, says Sherry Manning, Divisional Director for Women’s and Children’s at Newham Hospital. “The whole multidisciplinary maternity team have made a huge effort over the last year to provide a safe, effective, high-quality service for women having their babies at Newham Hospital. This inspection, which identified some outstanding areas within the service, shows the hard work is paying off”.
The areas identified as outstanding were about how the service has:
- improved its contact with the public via ‘Whose Shoes’, an event designed for staff of all disciplines to understand patient experience
- exceeded the Better Births Strategy’s national target for the percentage of women booked into a Continuity of Care pathway
- introduced a women’s experience midwife, leading to a reduction in complaints and improvements in staff behaviour and attitudes
- started a second caseload team during the pandemic to be more inclusive for all women, particularly BAME women, and those with complex needs
The team also identified some areas for improvement (classified as ‘should dos’), including:
- staff not adhering to the trust uniform policy
- lack of information being available in languages other than English
- the medical leadership structure not being fully embedded with all medical staff
- some staff being unsure of their responsibilities
- not all staff being up-to-date with their mandatory training
Responding to the report, Louise Crosby, Director of Nursing for Newham Hospital said: “I’m so proud of all the hard work the maternity team have done to continuously improve the service they provide for women having their babies at our hospital. The CQC were impressed with the improvements that have been made to the service and acknowledged the hard work that’s been done to get there. There’s always more that can be done for staff and patients, and we will work in the coming months to address the ‘should dos’ the CQC identified. But we’re in a good place and I’m proud of all the staff involved.”
Sherry continues: “As a team, we’re on a journey of improvement – both for our staff and our patients. This latest report for the CQC will help us on this journey by identifying areas of improvement that we can focus on, beyond those we’ve identified ourselves and are already working on”.
The full report, which also highlights how senior leadership were visible and well received by all staff; the service managed serious incidents well with actions and learning disseminated to all staff; staff understood how to protect women from abuse and the service worked well with other agencies to do so; and how staff collected safety information and shared it with staff, women and visitors, is available in full on the CQC website.