St Peter’s Hospital maternity service in Surrey told to take urgent action

Urgent action is needed after maternity services at a Surrey hospital were rated inadequate by a watchdog.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected maternity care in January at St Peter’s Hospital, run by Ashford and St Peter’s NHS Foundation Trust.

The trust was told to “take urgent action to ensure women and babies… are not exposed to risk of harm”.

A trust spokesperson said “providing safe, high quality care for our patients is our priority”.

They added: “We apologise to any women, babies and families for whom the care we provided fell short.”

The CQC said its rating of Ashford and St Peter’s NHS Foundation Trust remained good following the visit, but St Peter’s Hospital still “requires improvement”.

Amy Jupp, CQC deputy director of operations in the south of England, said: “It’s concerning that the quality and safety of maternity care at St Peter’s Hospital has deteriorated since our last inspection.

“Risk wasn’t always well managed in the service. Staff didn’t always have enough time to appropriately assess and action risks faced by women or to maintain accurate care records.”

The inspection was carried out as part of the CQC’s national maternity services inspection programme.

CQC inspectors said one of the problems at St Peter’s Hospital concerned the recruiting and retaining of staff, an issue also affecting much of the NHS.

“But the trust’s senior leaders must also improve their oversight of the service and set the right priorities to help it respond to the challenges it faces,” Ms Jupp said.

Inspectors reported staff engaged well with women, although some staff had not completed some mandatory training.

They wrote: “There were significant issues with risk assessments, especially in triage.”

Inspectors also reported the trust had admitted some people’s privacy and dignity had been compromised by the location of the maternity planned-elective operating theatres.

However, staff felt valued and included in plans to improve the service, and collaborated well and understood how to protect women from abuse, the CQC said.

Responding to the report, a spokesperson for the trust said: “While there are some areas of good practice recognised by the CQC, we take the concerns raised in this report extremely seriously and, following the inspection in January, we have been taking urgent action to make significant improvements to the quality and safety of care provided.

“This includes increasing clinical staff in our maternity triage unit to care for women safely and increasing the size of the unit to improve the experience and dignity of those in our care.

“Action is also being taken to improve staff training compliance and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) across the service.”


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