St Thomas’ maternity service rated 'good' by CQC

Friday 9 December 2022

A maternity support worker holding a newborn baby

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated the maternity service at St Thomas' Hospital good, following an inspection undertaken in September 2022.

The inspection was carried out as part of CQC's national maternity 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 at a local and national level.

The overall CQC rating for St Thomas' Hospital's maternity service remains unchanged from the last inspection.

In addition to being rated good overall, St Thomas' Hospital's maternity service was rated good for being well-led and requires improvement for being safe.

The inspection found:

  • staff had training in key skills, they worked well together for the benefit of women and understood how to protect women from abuse
  • infection risk was controlled well
  • safety incidents were well managed and used to drive learning
  • leaders ran services well using reliable information systems, and they ensured staff were competent and supported to develop their skills
  • most staff felt respected, supported and valued
  • staff were clear about their roles and accountabilities
  • the service engaged well with women and the community to plan and manage services, and staff were committed to continually improving services
  • inspectors were assured feedback from women and families would be prioritised to improve their experience
  • areas of outstanding practice were found in how staff are trained, the management of incidents and the bereavement care and facilities provided

The report identified some areas for improvement, predominantly around staffing levels and waiting times for triage and assessment, which have been reviewed and some recommendations have been actioned with immediate effect.

The Trust has already appointed a new midwifery matron to provide additional leadership within its medical assessment unit (MAU), as well as 4 obstetric clinical fellows to provide medical presence from 9am to 9pm.

Nicola Wise, CQC head of hospital inspection, said: 

"Overall, we found women and babies were receiving good care in St Thomas' Hospital's maternity service.

"Behind this was the work leaders had undertaken to ensure staff received high-quality training and build a good culture. We also found people were successfully protected from the risk of infection.

"While staffing challenges are affecting the NHS and wider care sector across the country, every trust and healthcare provider must do all it can to ensure its care isn't undermined by staffing constraints. 

"We continue to monitor the service, hospital and trust – including through future inspections – to support the safe and effective care and treatment people have a right to expect."

Gina Brockwell, Chief Midwife at St Thomas' Hospital said:

"We are delighted that the CQC has retained our 'good' rating against a very challenging backdrop for maternity services across the UK.

This is a credit to all the dedicated midwives, nurses, doctors and support staff at St Thomas' Hospital, who continue to work tirelessly in delivering high quality services for women, babies and their families.

"Staff training and welfare is a priority for us at St Thomas', so it is reassuring to know that this has been recognised in the CQC report.

"While we appreciate there is still work to be done, we continue in our determination to improve health outcomes and maternity care for all women in our care."

The report was published on CQC's website on Friday 9 December.

Last updated: December 2022

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