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Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust maternity service rated inadequate

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Widespread concerns of maternity safety at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have been highlighted in a recent Care Quality Commission (CQC) report which downgrades the Hospital Trust from “outstanding” to “inadequate” for these services.

The report, published on 9 June 2021, has imposed conditions on the trust after an unexpected inspection of the maternity department at the trust in March 2021 due to concerns about the risk of patient harm.

The investigation concluded, amongst other concerns, that there were midwifery shortages, issues in maintaining competency levels for maternity staff, errors in risk management of patients and failures in investigating serious incidents and to appreciate the lessons that should be learned from them.

The service was rated “inadequate” overall and for its safety standards and management. Concerningly, the report highlights issues with a lack of ‘openness and transparency’ when things went wrong.

The report details 10 mandatory steps that the trust must now make in the interest of patient safety and the CQC intends on monitoring them closely.

Kashmir Uppal, medical negligence partner based in Shoosmiths Birmingham office said:

“The mandatory steps are in addition to the “Immediate and Essential Actions” recommended by the Ockenden report which was commissioned to investigate the concerns about maternity care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust. As Donna Ockenden set out in her report, recommendations are of limited use if they are not implemented and we therefore hope that the trust swiftly acts upon the recommendations made in the report in the interest of maternity patient safety.”

Sharon Banga, medical negligence principal associate based in Shoosmiths Birmingham office adds:

“It is concerning to read that one of the CQC concerns is a lack of openness and transparency when things go wrong and a failure to investigate serious incidents. Following the recent Panorama investigation into Trusts not publishing internal incident reports, these CQC findings further highlight the need for Trusts to learn from errors, improve care and ensure patient safety in the future.”

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