Basildon University Hospital maternity has been rated ‘inadequate’ after failures involving six serious cases. The maternity unit has been ordered to make urgent improvements after further concerns were raised recently about the safety of the maternity unit and its patients.
The Basildon University Hospital maternity unit has faced a number of investigations for serious cases that have raised issues surrounding the hospital’s care of patients. The maternity unit first came under fire in 2019 after the deaths of a baby in September 2018 and Gabriela Pintilie, 36, in February 2019, reportedly put down to ‘medical ineptitude.’ Further investigation into to unit found 5 other cases that were also linked to failings of care.
Further to this, a woman whose son died shortly after he was born, after 22 weeks of pregnancy, has been critical of the care and support she received during her pregnancy. She told BBC News that ‘Nearly every day I was having doctors come in encouraging me that I needed to terminate the pregnancy, even though there was nothing wrong with him.’
Poor conditions found in Basildon University Hospital maternity unit
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) had previously carried out an investigation into Basildon University Hospital maternity care and, after further concerns were raised by an anonymous whistle blower, they returned.
The CQC reportedly found the following issues;
- High-risk women giving birth in a low-risk area;
- Not enough staff with the right skills and experience;
- “Dysfunctional” working relations between midwives, doctors and consultants, which had an impact on the “increased number of safety incidents reported”;
- Concerns over foetal heart monitoring;
- Women being referred to by room numbers instead of their names;
- A “lack of response by consultants to emergencies” resulting in delays.
Ted Baker, CQC chief inspector of hospitals, said: ‘We have issued a warning notice requiring the trust to make urgent improvements to ensure mothers and babies are safe.’
Basildon University Hospital maternity response
The care received at Basildon University Hospital maternity unit is being investigated independently by the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, who runs the hospital. The Trust is understood to have invested £1.8 million in staffing, and a new clinical director has been appointed.
We understand that nine midwives and two consultants had been put in place immediately, with 20 more midwives to join at a later date.
Ms Panniker, chief executive of Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said that the hospital’s poor workplace culture was “unacceptable” and would not be tolerated.
Urgent deadline for Basildon maternity ward
The CQC issued a letter over the Basildon University Hospital Maternity issues stating that, when inspectors returned on 18th September, the serious issues they had previously highlighted had not been addressed.
The letter from the CQC included the unsafe staffing levels at the unit throughout August and gave the Basildon University Hospital until 9th November to implement appropriate measures. Any failure to do so means that the CQC has the authority to temporarily shut health services down.
The NHS Trust who owns Basildon University Hospital has said it has a ‘robust plan in place’.
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