Dear parents, parents-to-be, and families,
Today (29 November) the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates NHS services, has published reports about our maternity services at Royal Derby Hospital and Queen's Hospital Burton. This follows some inspections the CQC undertook in August this year as part of a national maternity inspection programme.
Inspectors have rated our maternity services at both hospitals as 'Inadequate'. We understand that this may cause you worry and concern, and we are sorry that our services are not consistently delivering to the standard we strive for or that you should expect.
We want to reassure you that we have put immediate improvements in place to address the issues raised by the CQC, and we are tracking and reporting our progress to make sure these are embedded well.
We have put changes in place to make sure we are monitoring babies during labour to best practice standards and are using nationally recommended models for how we assess women for complications like haemorrhages, so we can make sure we treat any issues quickly and safely.
Earlier this year we invested in new ultrasound software to help us better monitor how babies are growing during pregnancy, and our pregnancy assessment line is available for anyone who feels they need to call us. Shower curtains were put up in the areas where the CQC advised us they were needed on the day of the inspection, to better support your privacy and comfort while in our care.
We had recognised and acknowledged our challenges in maternity services prior to the CQC inspection and begun to address them, proactively asking for additional support by requesting to join the national Maternity Safety Support Programme earlier this year.
With this support, we are making progress with our Maternity Improvement Programme. Twenty-eight new midwives have joined us since August, and 18 more will be with us across December. We have also introduced new roles like a dedicated fetal-wellbeing lead midwife and family liaison coordinator, there to provide dedicated wellbeing support to families, and over the last few years we have funded additional doctors and sonographers.
Since August we have welcomed a new Director of Midwifery and Divisional Medical Director, and are increasing the numbers of senior midwifery staff available to support both you and our teams. We are also doing some dedicated work on staff wellbeing, knowing that if we look after our staff as well as possible, they can better look after you.
While we are making progress we know we must go further, and our maternity teams remain absolutely determined to lead these changes. We are encouraged that the CQC reports recognise their compassion, care and commitment to the parents and babies they care for.
Please be assured that our hospitals are safe places to give birth, and there are several ways you can contact us or reach support should you wish to. We will ensure that any feedback you want to share is listened to and, importantly, is acted upon.
You can reach out to your community midwife or named consultant, or our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) at: telephone 01332 785 156; text 07799 337 500; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parents, parent-to-be and families may also wish to get in touch with their local Maternity & Neonatal Voice Partnership (MNVP) via email@example.com (Derbyshire) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Staffordshire).
We will continue to approach our challenges with openness and honesty and we will continue to share updates on our progress through our public website, social media channels and in our Public Trust Board papers.
You have our absolute commitment that we will keep working at pace to listen, improve and make the further changes that both you and we want to see.
Garry Marsh, Executive Chief Nurse
Gis Robinson, Interim Executive Medical Director
Sarah Noble, Director of Midwifery
Mary Montgomery, Divisional Medical Director