MATERNITY services at two hospitals have been downgraded by a health watchdog following a damming report.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has called for improvement to be made at Heartlands Hospital and Good Hope Hospitals, part of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB).
Inspectors rated maternity services at Heartlands as inadequate and Good Hope as requires improvement.
The Trust said it is facing “significant challenges” but are making improvements in a commitment to improve services for women.
The inspection was carried out in February as part of the CQC’s national maternity inspection programme which aims to give an up-to-date view of hospital maternity care across the country and help it understand what is working well.
A warning notice was issued to Heartlands Hospital ‘to focus the trust’s attention on rapidly making the necessary improvements.’
At Heartlands the CQC report noted patients were not always reviewed in a timely manner in the pregnancy assessment emergency room, putting the safety of people at risk.
It also noted the environment and equipment were not always visibly clean, equipment was stored unsafely outside the induction bay and an emergency theatre, and confidential information had been left unattended on the security desk on the ground floor of Princess of Wales Unit.
The inspection team, lead by Carolyn Jenkinson, deputy director of secondary and specialist healthcare, noted safeguarding and the bereavement team were outstanding.
At Good Hope inspectors noted cleaning records were up-to-date and demonstrated that all areas were cleaned regularly and pool cleaning schedules were available.
However, the report said: “We found that the pool in delivery suite was visibly unclean with tide marks and visible dirt.”
It also noted the service provided mandatory and maternity specific training in key skills to all staff but didn’t ensure everyone had completed it.
The report noted staff knew how to make a safeguarding referral and who to inform if they had concerns.
In response to the findings UHB’s chief nurse Margaret Garbett said: “The care and safety of women and their families is always our priority, and we are working work with our teams to provide better experiences for them, and our colleagues in maternity, and obstetrics and gynaecology.
“Whilst the service is facing significant challenges in the areas highlighted by this inspection, we have worked to make improvements, including the expansion of the Pregnancy Assessment Emergency Room, and improvements to staffing of the area.
“I am pleased that areas of good practice have also been highlighted by the CQC, and we will use their valuable feedback to help us in our commitment to improve services for women, and the parents and families of over 8,700 babies who are born with us each year.”