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HomeHealthImprovements needed at Hillingdon Hospital’s maternity services following inspection

Improvements needed at Hillingdon Hospital’s maternity services following inspection

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has dropped The Hillingdon Hospital’s maternity services rating from good to requires improvement, following an inspection in August.

This inspection was carried out as part of CQC’s national maternity services inspection programme. The programme aims to provide an up to date view of the quality of hospital maternity care across the country, and a better understanding of what is working well to support learning and improvement locally and nationally.

As well as dropping in rating overall, the service’s rating for safe has also dropped from good to requires improvement. The service’s rating for well-led has dropped from outstanding to requires improvement. This inspection didn’t look at how effective, caring, or responsive the service was, so all of these retain their previous rating of good.

This inspection does not change the overall rating of the hospital as a whole, which remains rated inadequate. This inspection does not change the overall rating of The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which remains requires improvement.

Carolyn Jenkinson, CQC’s deputy director of secondary and specialist healthcare, said: “When we inspected maternity services at The Hillingdon Hospital we found most staff doing their best to provide women and people using the service with safe, compassionate care. However, they were under a lot of pressure due to staffing issues, and leaders didn’t always respond quickly to concerns. This put people’s safety at risk.

“For example, we saw staff didn’t always fully complete risk assessments for people when they arrived. This meant people at the highest risk weren’t always seen quickly enough.

“When things went wrong, the service raised and investigated this well. However, leaders didn’t always make sure learning was fully implemented to protect people in future.

“We saw the trust was doing their best to respond to staffing pressures, which are a problem across the NHS. Recruitment was ongoing and leaders had organised a wellbeing programme for staff stressed by high workloads. However, staff gave us mixed views on how effective this was.

“We’ve shared our findings with the trust, who have begun addressing our concerns. We’ll continue to monitor the service closely, including through further inspections, to make sure these improvements are carried out promptly. We won’t hesitate to act further if we find people are not receiving safe care.”

Inspectors found several areas of concern at the service, including inadequate staff training in essential safety areas, failure to promptly recognise and respond to deteriorating health conditions, instances of births occurring before reaching the labor ward due to bed availability issues, and improper storage of medicines.

The trust initiated an independent review of staff culture in response to concerns about fairness and diversity, with subsequent recommendations for improvement. However, staff demonstrated competence in protecting people from abuse, maintaining detailed care records, and fostering a safe environment for raising concerns.

Additionally, leaders supported engagement with local communities and organizations for service planning. The full report will be available on the Care Quality Commission’s website on February 14th.

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