You are here

Basildon University Hospital


Inspection carried out on 18 Sep 2020

During an inspection looking at part of the service

Inspection carried out on 12/06/2020

During an inspection looking at part of the service

Basildon University Hospital is operated by Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation trust. The maternity unit at Basildon University Hospital provides a comprehensive range of services including; ambulatory care assessment, prenatal diagnostic screening, antenatal care services, perinatal mental health and counselling service, midwife led birthing unit, delivery suite and home birth service.

The maternity unit offers women the following birth options:

  • Home birth: around 3% of all trust births are home births.
  • Midwife-led birthing unit: Located on the Willow suite, consists of five delivery rooms (including two pool rooms) and four postnatal beds.
  • Delivery suite: eight birthing beds and four enhanced care beds. There are two dedicated maternity theatres.

The maternity unit also includes Cedar Ward, a 33-bedded postnatal ward that also provides antenatal care and the Mulberry Suite, which is a seven-bedded ambulatory care assessment unit for all women from 14 weeks gestation.

From April 2019 to March 2020 there were 4,304 deliveries at Basildon University Hospital.

We last inspected the maternity service at Basildon Hospital in February 2019. The service was rated requires improvement overall; safe and well led were rated requires improvement, effective, caring and responsive were rated good.

During the 2019 inspection, we identified a number of concerns in the maternity service. As a result, requirement notices for breaches of regulation 12 and 17 of the health and social care act (2014), were issued against the trust. The requirement notices informed the action the trust must take to comply with its legal obligation, and we requested an action plan from the trust, outlining steps that had been taken to address the concerns we raised. The trust submitted an action plan following publication of the inspection report in July 2019. The trust submitted regular updates on the progress of the action plan and in February 2020, the actions relating to the maternity service were all signed off as completed by the trust.

In May 2020 we received information from an anonymous whistle-blower, raising safety concerns at Basildon Hospital maternity services. The information received and a review of the trust’s incident reporting data highlighted a cluster of six serious incidents where babies were born in poor condition and subsequently transferred out for cooling therapy from March and April 2020. Cooling therapy is a procedure which can be offered as a treatment option for newborn babies with brain injury caused by oxygen shortage during birth. It involves bringing baby’s temperature from the normal body temperature of 37°C to a temperature between 33°C and 35°C soon after birth and for a few days afterwards.

In response to the information we carried out a focused inspection on 12 June 2020 to follow up on the concerns raised.

During this inspection we:

  • Spoke with 16 staff members; including service leads, matrons, midwives, doctors, midwifery care assistants and administrative staff.
  • Checked 12 pieces of equipment.
  • Reviewed 12 medical records.
  • Reviewed five prescription charts.

Our inspection was unannounced (staff did not know we were coming) to enable us to observe routine activities. We carried out a focused inspection related to the concerns raised, this does not include all of our key lines of enquiry (KLOEs). As a result of this inspection we rated safe, effective and well-led as inadequate, and overall the service was rated inadequate.

We found some improvements from our last inspection. There were continued concerns in relation to requirement notices we served to the trust at our inspection February 2019. Following the focused inspection, we undertook enforcement action in relation to the maternity service, and told the trust it must improve. We issued a warning notice, on the 23 June 2020, under Section 29A of the Health and Social Care Act 2008. This identified specific areas that the trust must improve and set a date for compliance as 14 August 2020. The trust initiated an immediate action improvement plan.

The link below is our report published following our last inspection: