Staff at The Royal London Hospital’s maternity department have made real improvements for mothers and babies, according to a report published by the Care Quality Commission today.
Following an unannounced inspection in June 2017 the CQC has raised the overall rating of the service from ‘inadequate’ to ‘requires improvement’, while highlighting two areas of outstanding practice.
Inspectors reported that women feel supported in making decisions about where to have their baby and that the new Lotus birthing centre provides women with continuity of care whilst easing pressure on other labour wards.
Following previous concerns about security in the department, the CQC found that practices had improved with all mothers and babies wearing name bands, staff making twice daily checks and reception staff proactively asking all visitors who they have come to visit.
The number of midwife vacancies had reduced by 40%, with staff saying morale had improved and that they “loved coming to work”.
The two areas of outstanding practice highlighted are:
· The innovative 'My Body Back' maternity service for women who have experienced sexual violence
· A development which enables women to have miscarriages managed under local anaesthetic without needing to go to theatre. This reduced waiting times and uncertainty for women.
Since the CQC inspection in June 2017 the service has:
· Successfully delivered 98 hours consultant cover, as per the recommendations by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
· Implemented electronic baby tagging which gives us additional security
· Overhauled its uniform policy to ensure the highest standards of infection control
· Further improved staff morale by introducing “Wellbeing Works”, a workplace initiative to develop a psychologically safe workplace.
Alwen Williams, Chief Executive of Barts Health NHS Trust, said:
“This improved rating is good news for our staff, local women, their partners and families. I am delighted that improvements to morale and security have been recognised by the CQC and two areas of practice have been acknowledged as ‘outstanding’. We know there is still much to do and we are all determined to build on these improvements to make the service even better for our patients and staff.”
Councillor Clare Harrisson, Tower Hamlets health scrutiny committee chair, said:
"It is welcome news that the Care Quality Commission have found that maternity services at the Royal London Hospital have improved. The team there has worked hard to achieve this important step forward. It is vital that the Royal London continues to build on this to achieve a good, then an outstanding rating, so that families in east London have access to the excellent NHS maternity services that they rightly expect."