Tameside’s maternity services drop from good rating to ‘requires improvement’

MATERNITY services in Tameside have dropped from being rated as good to ‘requires improvement’ in a new report.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) downgraded that area of the Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust after a December inspection as part of its national maternity inspection programme.

And while the overall rating for the trust, as well as Tameside General Hospital, remains as good, concerns were raised about its maternity department.

They include some areas not being fully secure, some not being ‘visibly clean’ and not all staff had completed infection prevention and control training.

They were also not always being able to maintain the privacy and dignity of patients because of having to transfer from the maternity unit to theatre, either by walking to the main theatre suite ready for theatre in gowns or being transferred back to the maternity unit on beds via public corridors within the hospital.

Tameside Hospital

Others included out of date and missing items on emergency trolleys and good care records not always being kept or stored securely.

In the CQC’s report, examples were given about different areas.

It told how compliance rates for established midwives and theatre nurses were

below target for fire safety, information governance and moving and handling, while consultants were below target for infection prevention training.

It also said: “We observed some items of equipment in the assessment rooms were dusty, for example suction tubing and portable fans.

“On one occasion, we saw the prescriber had not specified which opiate compound to administer, therefore staff had given the patient two different medicines.

“On another occasion, staff were not able to tell us what was administered to the patient as they were unsure.

“We raised this at the time of inspection and the service reported that the incidents would be investigated.

Tameside Hospital

The service had reviewed the training figures reported in November it was on target for Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts declaration sign off in February.

And the CQC did not look at how effective, caring, and responsive the service was at this inspection, therefore the ratings for these areas remain as good.

But Carolyn Jenkinson, its deputy director of secondary and specialist healthcare, said:

“When we inspected maternity services at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust, we found staff who were skilled and were focused on the needs of women, people using the service and their babies.

“However, there was a deterioration in the standard of care being provided since we last inspected and leaders must now focus on making the necessary improvements.

“We were concerned that despite leaders monitoring waiting times, they didn’t always ensure people were seen in a timely manner and there were delays in people receiving treatment once they had been initially assessed.

“Staff told us people may face long waits for a medical review, especially those from antenatal clinic waiting for a scan review in the assessment unit.

“We also found that the dedicated triage telephone line wasn’t always answered by a trained member of staff which could place people at risk if their concern was dealt with by someone who didn’t have the right knowledge or skill.

“Despite these concerns, we found staff and leaders were committed to improving the service.

“The leadership team was responsive when staff identified where improvements could be made and took action to make any changes.

“Leaders were aware of how health inequalities affected treatment and outcomes for people from ethnic minority and disadvantaged groups in their local population.

“or example, the service provided additional support to people who smoked and they managed to significantly reduce the percentage of people who were smokers at the time of delivery.

“We will continue to monitor the trust, including through future inspections, to ensure the necessary improvements are made so people can receive safe and appropriate care.”

A spokesperson for the trust told The Correspondent its maternity services leaders are working on a ‘robust plan’ to bring improvements.

They said: “Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust accepts the CQC’s findings following the latest inspection of our maternity services.

“Their report identified our service’s willingness to learn and found staff were proud to work for the service.

“Our dedicated maternity leadership team are now working through a robust plan to address the areas for improvement identified by the CQC in order to provide the highest quality of service for our community.”


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