Following a surprise Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection carried out in June, a large number of safety concerns have now been published by the CQC in relation to the maternity care provided to mothers and infants at the Basildon University Hospital maternity ward.
The inspection was the result of whistle-blowers highlighting the risks of the care being provided, that the Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Ted Baker praised.
The CQC report highlighted six serious incidents between March 2020 and April 2020 for babies who required cooling therapy as a consequence of being born in a poor condition, lacking in oxygen and putting them at risk of brain injury.
The report also identified a series of mismanagement issues including categorising pregnancies as high risk of complication, however leaving these vulnerable women in low risk areas of the unit. These risks were worsened by the “dysfunctional” working arrangements between midwives, doctors and consultants increasing the number of safety incidents being reported. These safety incidents were not being correctly graded or categorised and the lessons learnt not being carried forward or implemented.
In his statement Professor Ted Baker highlighted that the Trust “wanted to improve the care they provide to women and babies” and it is hoped that there are now clear and sufficient steps in place to enable them to do so. Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust have stated that they have opened additional delivery beds for high-risk women, created a triage service, overhauled their processes and training to address the issues raised by the CQC inspectors.
Shoosmiths’ Medical Negligence Partner Denise Stephens acts for parents and children who have experienced complications and injury during birth and commented that “I welcome the findings of the CQC report and the benefits that it will bring to patient safety at Basildon. Birth related complications are enormously distressing for families and it is hoped that there will be positive change going forward to prevent the continuation of such serious short comings. Taking steps to ensure that avoidable harm does not happen to babies must be an urgent and top priority in health care.”