East Kent maternity deaths: CQC considered shutting unit

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BabyImage source, Getty Images

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A reappraisal successful October recovered that astatine slightest 45 babies mightiness person survived with amended attraction astatine the trust

By Christian Fuller

BBC News

Health inspectors considered shutting down a maternity portion implicit information concerns, the BBC has learned.

The Care Quality Commission alternatively called for "immediate improvements" pursuing a sojourn to the William Harvey infirmary successful Ashford, Kent.

The inspection successful January came weeks aft a reappraisal recovered at slightest 45 babies mightiness person survived astatine 2 hospitals tally by the East Kent Hospitals Trust.

The trust's main enforcement has apologised for its service.

The inspection of East Kent's William Harvey infirmary laid bare aggregate instances of inadequate practices astatine the unit, including unit failing to lavation their hands aft each patient, and life-saving instrumentality not being successful the close place.

Days aft the visit, the watchdog raised information concerns and threatened the spot with enforcement enactment to guarantee patients are protected.

The BBC's societal affairs correspondent, Michael Buchanan, said the CQC considered closing maternity attraction astatine the hospital, fixed the level of concern.

However, the spot promised to marque contiguous improvements to attraction and the CQC yet decided that play monitoring of its services would suffice.

The wide CQC standing for maternity services astatine some the William Harvey and The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital (QEQM) successful Margate has dropped from 'requires improvement' to 'inadequate' pursuing the inspection.

Key findings:

  • At the William Harvey hospital, inspectors recovered bloodstains connected toilets
  • In time attraction and triage, inspectors "routinely" saw unit did not ever cleanable their hands oregon usage aprons and gloves portion delivering care
  • Resuscitaires were not disposable successful the close place, nor were they cleaned and checked regularly
  • Staff astatine the infirmary did not ever guarantee a 2nd sentiment was sought
  • Staff morale was debased crossed some hospitals
  • At The Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, equality and diverseness were not ever promoted

Deanna Westwood, the CQC's manager of operations south, said the watchdog has present utilized "urgent enforcement powers" to "require contiguous improvements" astatine the trust.

The CQC highlighted peculiar concerns astir the usage of resuscitation equipment.

"Babies needing exigency resuscitation were taken to a resuscitative instrumentality - however, successful immoderate cases, these were extracurricular the labour country and successful the corridor," Ms Westwood said.

"This could perchance effect successful delays successful captious attraction and attraction for newborns, arsenic good arsenic separation from the parent and an summation successful the imaginable for babies to beryllium mis-identified."

Image source, PA Media

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Trust main enforcement Tracey Fletcher

Tracey Fletcher, East Kent Hospitals spot main executive, said: "I americium atrocious that contempt the committedness and hard enactment of our staff, erstwhile they inspected successful January, the CQC recovered that the spot was not consistently providing the standards of maternity attraction women and families should expect."

She said the spot has since accrued doc staffing successful the triage work astatine William Harvey. The spot besides said it has ensured amended entree to exigency instrumentality and improved cleaning.

Ms Fletcher added: "We recognise that, contempt the changes that person been made to the work truthful far, determination is simply a batch much to bash to guarantee we are consistently providing precocious standards of attraction for each family, each time."

October's autarkic review, which was chaired by Dr Bill Kirkup CBE, examined an 11-year play from 2009 astatine the 2 hospitals.

It recovered that of the 202 cases that were examined, up to 45 babies mightiness person survived if they had received amended attraction from the trust.

The reappraisal uncovered a "clear pattern" of "sub-optimal" attraction that led to important harm, and said families were ignored.


By Mark Norman, wellness correspondent, BBC South East

It is different atrocious study from inspectors.

More condemnation of managers and a reminder that the spot doesn't person capable maternity unit oregon aesculapian unit with the close qualifications, skills, grooming and experience.

But 2 things interest me.

This inspection came 2 months aft the work of Dr Bill Kirkup's report. It begs the question wherefore elemental information changes had not been initiated by elder managers successful the weeks pursuing that report.

Secondly, NHS England person had "maternity betterment advisors" supporting the spot for the past 4 years. It's worrying that with a immense magnitude of enactment and scrutiny that these problems inactive beryllium and don't look to beryllium improving.

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