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Chief Inspector of Hospitals rates Homerton University Hospital maternity services as Requires Improvement
The Chief Inspector of Hospitals has rated Homerton University Hospital maternity services as Requires Improvement following a focused inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The CQC inspection team, which included specialist advisors, visited the hospital over several days during October and November 2015. Inspectors found that the hospital required improvement in order to provide maternity services that were safe and well-led.
The hospital provides maternity services for a local community of around 252,000 people within the London borough of Hackney. The service delivered over 5,842 babies in 2014, and over 4,464 babies between January 2015 and 30 September 2015.
CQC had identified the need for improvements during a previous inspection in March 2015, which followed a number of maternal deaths, and concerns raised by the local clinical commissioning group.
Concerns identified during the previous inspection included inconsistent learning from adverse incidents, poor monitoring of women and babies, poor risk management and inadequate cleaning and maintenance of equipment and the hospital environment. In response to these concerns, CQC issued three warning notices, requiring the hospital to take action to improve the care and welfare of people using maternity services, the quality of service assessment and monitoring, and the standard of cleanliness and infection control.
During the most recent inspection, in October and November 2015, CQC found that the service had addressed many of the requirements of the warning notices for the care and welfare of people using maternity services, and the standard of cleanliness and infection control.
Significant improvements had been made to the safety of maternity services. A new escalation protocol was in place, with training delivered to all staff to ensure swift identification of deteriorating patients, although robust observational checks of babies were still not in place.
Cleanliness and hygiene had improved significantly. Although service areas were visibly clean and there were processes in place to ensure high standards of cleanliness were maintained, inspectors still found a few isolated incidents where cleanliness could be improved.
The hospital needed to do more to implement recommendations from investigations into serious incidents.
The trust had engaged with staff, but inspectors found that more needed to be done to encourage staff to share any concerns, in order to consistently protect mothers and babies from receiving unsafe care.
The Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Professor Sir Mike Richards, said:
“Over the past three years, there have been some tragic cases at Homerton University Hospital and I extend my deepest sympathy to those families.
“On our last inspection, we identified a number of issues, and we told the trust that urgent action must be taken to address these concerns and minimise the risks to mothers and babies.
“I am pleased to report that we have found some real improvements in the care and welfare of women using maternity services, and in the standard of cleanliness and infection control.
“However, we still have some concerns regarding the need for robust observational checks of babies, and a more consistent system to absorb the recommendations from serious incidents.
“I expect the trust to build upon this progress and take further action to improve. We will return in due course to check that the necessary progress is made on behalf of the people who rely on this service.”
For further information please contact Yetunde Akintewe, CQC Regional Engagement Manager, on 07471 020 659. For media enquiries, call the press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours. Journalists wishing to speak to the press office, can find out how to contact the team here. For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.
- Last updated:
- 29 May 2017
Notes to editors