Warnings issued about serious concerns at Medway Maritime Hospital’s maternity department

In our article dated 16.07.2013 we reported that Medway NHS Foundation Trust had been placed into special measures following the Keogh Review.

The Trust was one of 11 hospitals across the country to have this drastic action taken.

Today it has been reported that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has issued three formal warnings to the Trust, including that it must take immediate action to improve the safety and welfare of women giving birth at Medway Maritime Hospital.

Serious concerns have been revealed following an unannounced inspection of the hospital’s maternity department, during which inspectors found that the hospital failed to meet any of the 6 standards checked as a result of shortage of midwives, lack of staff training, delays in care and poor communication.

In particular, it was found that the hospital had failed to meet national regulations in staffing, supporting workers and assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision.

The CQC’s findings included:

  • No clear pathway for pregnant women to access antenatal care resulting in delays
  • Insufficient number of midwives leading to existing midwives struggling to keep up with demand
  • Poor medicines management practice
  • Hospital and community midwives not having enough time to carry out on-going training
  • Inadequate systems of governance and management oversight
  • Poor communication between directorates
  • No service delivery plan for maternity services

The story will continue as Adrian Hughes, regional director of the CQC has stated: “We are committed to returning to the Trust in due course to check whether general improvements required by that process have been made…In the meantime, our inspectors will return unannounced in the near future to check that the hospital has made the changes required by the warning notices.”

Shantala Heath, Specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor at Fairweathers Solicitors LLP, commented:

“It is worrying enough that one of our local Trusts was 1 of 11 Trusts forced into special measures back in July, out of a total of 267 Trusts in the UK. However, what is even more worrying is that 3 months later, following an unannounced visit, even more concerns have now been flagged and one wonders where this will end.

Sadly, what we see in the firm is that patients are being seriously affected and being let down by the poor care and treatment received. I expect more patients will now realise that what happened to them may not have been poor luck but may have been as a result of avoidable poor care received at Medway. No doubt the most anxious patients currently are expectant mothers who, due to the lack of maternity services in the Kent area, are forced to go to Medway Hospital to deliver their babies and I genuinely hope that for that reason Medway Hospital try and put measures in place to improve their care from today.”