Maternity department told to ‘make improvements’

The maternity services at West Suffolk Hospital have been found to not meet national guidelines acco

The maternity services at West Suffolk Hospital have been found to not meet national guidelines according to the CQC Picture: ANDREW PARSONS/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

The maternity ward at West Suffolk Hospital has been handed a warning notice after regulators deemed it to be in need of ‘significant’ improvements.

The warning was served to West Suffolk Hospital following inspections by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in September and October this year.

Inspectors found the way the hospital monitors women in their care and records patient observations does not fall within national guidelines.

The Section 29a Notice is served when the CQC identifies concerns at NHS trusts and decides there is a need for significant improvements to their quality of healthcare. The warnings normally refer to systematic problems rather than isolated issues.

A full copy of the report is set to be made public in due course.

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A CQC spokesman said: "CQC carried out an inspection at West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust on 24 and 25 September and between 28 and 30 October 2019. As a result of the inspection findings we have served a S29a notice (a warning notice) at the trust with regard to its maternity services.

"The notice requires the trust to make improvements by 31 January. CQC will continue to monitor the trust and return to inspect unannounced."

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The hospital was rated as "outstanding" in the previous CQC report published in 2018.

The maternity services were not inspected during the inspection however, and were instead rated as "good" as per the prior report published in 2016.

The report did say, however, that significant work had been undertaken to address concerns regarding "culture" in maternity services.

A West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said: "We are taking action to further improve our maternity services following concerns raised by the Care Quality Commission as a result of our most recent inspection.

"We are making the necessary changes and the CQC is satisfied with the plans we have in place to make the improvements required.

"We have taken this feedback seriously and are acting accordingly to improve the care we provide, and continue to ensure the mothers and babies at our hospital are safe and well cared for."

The hospital in Bury St Edmunds serves a population of around 280,000 in west Suffolk and houses 31 maternity beds.

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