The news follows a report by the Care Quality Commission which now rates the service as ‘Inadequate’.

As part of the focused inspections, in March ,  maternity services were inspected against two domains, well-led and safe.

Following the inspection, the CQC published a report , and downgraded the service to ‘Inadequate’.

The CQC recognised that women and people using the service said most staff were friendly and explained their care to them,  and that there was a culture for improvement within the team.

However, inspectors raised concerns about insufficient staffing levels, governance and leadership processes.

Jacqueline Totterdell, the Group Chief Executive says, “we take the findings of this report extremely seriously.

“We accept that the standards on our maternity unit have fallen below what we expect.

“We have taken immediate action to address the concerns raised by the CQC and we remain committed to making improvements.

“I would like to reassure those due to give birth in our maternity unit that it continues to be a safe and positive environment to give birth in.

The CQC is inspecting all NHS acute hospital maternity services as they have not been inspected and rated since April 2021.

Pointers reviewed by the hospital:

Since March, we have made significant progress to address the concerns raised by the CQC, in a number of areas:

  • We have improved the patient triage assessment process on the delivery suite. Previously, there were three points of entry: the day assessment unit, the birth centre and triage. Now, all patients go to triage to be assessed in one location.
  • While our staffing levels align with national requirements, we have recruited an additional 15 midwives.
  • We have implemented a central system for fetal monitoring to ensure consistent and remote monitoring via the delivery suite and to provide uninterrupted care.
  • We have taken significant steps to improve our risk assessment process by working with our community and antenatal clinic matrons.
  • We have undertaken a thorough assessment of all clinical equipment in the maternity department and have removed any equipment not meeting specific requirements from use to ensure the safety of our patients.
  • We have addressed cleanliness issues raised by the CQC to provide a hygienic and safe environment for our patients.
  • We have installed a new birthing pool on the delivery suite to ensure that even in situations where services need to be diverted from the birthing centre, we can still offer the choice of a water delivery.