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How does your local hospital’s maternity services compare? 

The Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) are responsible for monitoring the safety and standards of hospitals around the country.   

Sadly, their ratings of maternity services over the period July 2021 – July 2022 identified 6% of NHS maternity services (9 out of a total of 139) were rated as inadequate and 32% (45 out of a total of 139) rated as requiring improvement. 

This means that their review of care across the maternity services concluded that 2 out of every 5 maternity units is not up to a standard that the CQC would consider to be at the bare minimum “good”. 

The main concerns were quality of staff training, staff numbers and poor working relationships between trained medical obstetric doctors and maternity staff.    

As a result of the CQC’s findings, they committed to prioritising reviews of the quality and safety of maternity services nationally.   

In our experience as medical negligence specialists we often, sadly, see the consequences that such poor care and inadequacies can have upon patients using maternity services. Malpractice can range from a lack of adequate midwifery staff numbers, delays in delivery resulting in injury to the baby and mother, missed opportunities during pregnancy to identify potential birth defects and ectopic pregnancy, and poor or complete failure in the repair of vaginal tears during delivery.     Whatever the mistake, all can lead to sometimes devastating, life changing harm to both baby and mother.  

Every maternity ward is rated by the CQC. You have at your fingertips the opportunity to review their facilities and question any care you receive.  https://www.cqc.org.uk/care-services

By way of example, whilst rated good overall, Lincoln County Hospital’s Nettleham Ward was rated as requiring improvement in safety by the CQC in their inspection report of February 2022 with areas of improvement being identified as monitoring of staff compliance to learn from incidents and complete safety and quality performance audits to ensure concerns are addressed and working towards increasing the number of midwives for the safety of labouring mothers. 

If you want answers as to anything that happened to you during your pregnancy, childbirth or afterwards, do get in touch with us, and we will be able to assist you in asking the right questions to gain those answers and, where relevant, access the necessary help and/or recover compensation for any injury sustained.