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Significant maternity concerns identified at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust following unannounced inspection

View profile for Judith Thomas-Whittingham
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A report commissioned by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has identified a “significant risk to women receiving timely and appropriate care and treatment, exposing them to the risk of harm” at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust maternity services.

The report has been produced following an unannounced inspection in June and as a result, the maternity services at the Trust have been downgraded from a previous good rating to inadequate for safety concerns and requiring improvement in most other areas.

One of the concerns which the CQC highlighted was that the service did not always manage safety incidents well and lessons learned were not always shared. Also of concern was that women could not access the service when they needed it and had to wait too long for treatment. The CQC identified that there wasn’t always enough midwifery staff to care for women under their care and keep them safe.

Maternity related incidents in 2020/21 accounted for 60% of the total cost of clinical negligence claims, reported to be around £4.8 billion. It is essential that Trust’s learn from mistakes to reduce the incidents of negligence in birth injuries, which can lead to catastrophic injuries to the mother and baby and even lead to their death.

Since the inspection, the Trust have joined the national Maternity and Neonatal Safety Improvement Programme which was introduced in November 2015. The programme aims to improve the safety outcomes of maternal and neonatal care and provide a high quality healthcare experience for all women, babies and families across maternity and neonatal settings in England. In addition, the programme aims to reduce the rates of maternal and neonatal deaths, stillbirths and brain injuries that occur during or soon after birth by 50% by 2025.

On a personal note, I gave birth to my daughter in 2014 at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and experienced a very high level of care. I went into premature labour at 31 weeks and I could not praise the midwives, obstetricians and neonatal staff enough for the exceptional care they provided to my daughter and I. Let’s hope with the help of the Maternity and Neonatal Safety Improvement Programme, the Trust can make swift improvements.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the negligence of a medical or health professional  then we may be able to help you pursue a claim for compensation. Our leading team of experts are on hand to offer advice, so please get in touch with us on 0161 696 6165 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.