The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published three reports following inspections of maternity care in November at Rossendale Primary Care Centre, Blackburn Birthing Centre and Burnley General Hospital, run by East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

The inspections were carried out as part of CQC’s national maternity services inspection programme. This will 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.

This was the first inspection of maternity services at Rossendale Primary Care Centre, and the service was rated good overall and for being safe and well-led. Rossendale Primary Care Centre is also rated good overall.

Following this focused inspection, Blackburn Birthing Centre and maternity services at Burnley General Hospital remain rated good overall and for being safe and well-led. Both locations also remain rated good overall.

The overall rating for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust remains rated as good.

Karen Knapton, CQC head of hospital inspection, said:

“When we visited maternity services at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, we found all the services we visited were well-led and leaders had the skills and abilities to run them well. They understood and managed the priorities and issues they faced and were also visible and approachable for women and staff.

“We found the service had enough maternity staff with the right qualifications, skills, training and experience to keep women safe from avoidable harm and to provide them with the right care and treatment. It was reassuring managers regularly reviewed and adjusted staffing levels and skill mix, and gave bank and agency staff a full induction to keep people safe.

“Throughout the service we saw a positive culture with happy staff in their roles and proud to work for the trust. Staff told us they felt their teams worked well together to support women and their families. Additionally, staff could record positive feedback and thanks to staff who had gone the extra mile on an online reporting system. This feedback was shared with individual staff which boosted morale and made them feel valued.

“We will continue to monitor the service, including through future inspections, to ensure women are continuing to receive a high standard of care.”

Inspectors found the following in all three services:

  • The service had enough staff to care for women and keep them safe. Staff had training in key skills, and worked well together for the benefit of women, understood how to protect women from abuse, and managed safety well.
  • The service-controlled infection risk well. Staff assessed risks to women, acted on them and kept good care records.
  • The service managed safety incidents well and learned lessons from them.
  • Leaders ran services well using reliable information systems and supported staff to develop their skills.
  • Staff felt respected, supported and valued. They were focused on the needs of women receiving care. Staff were clear about their roles and accountabilities.
  • The service engaged well with women and the community to plan and manage services
  • People could access the service when they needed it and did not have to wait too long for treatment and all staff were committed to improving services continually.

However, at Rossendale Primary Care Centre and Blackburn Birthing Centre:

  • Not all staff completed level three safeguarding adults training.
  • The birth centre did not have a local, specific vision or strategy supporting it to develop future birth centre services.

At Burnley General Hospital:

  • Not all medical staff had completed level three safeguarding training. Not all staff received an annual appraisal, with appraisal compliance rates low on the antenatal ward and central birth suite.
  • Staff did not consistently complete checks of specialist equipment and there was some out of date and missing items on emergency trolleys.
  • Staff did not always fully and accurately complete records of women’s medicines.

Outstanding practice found in all three services:

  • All midwives had safeguarding supervision annually in addition to safeguarding training. This consisted of training and reflective practice based on local safeguarding issues and is above good practice standards.
  • The service was focused on the needs of local women and families. They had a midwife champion for equality and diversity who linked with local groups representing people from black and minority ethnic communities to ensure services met their needs and were recruiting another lead midwife.

The report will be published on CQC’s website on Friday 6 January.


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