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Nottingham University Hospital trust 'jumping gun' in plans to merge maternity with fertility services

Arti Shah
22/06/2022
The hospital trust currently under scrutiny for catastrophic failings in maternity care has been criticised for progressing plans to merge maternity services with fertility and gynaecology departments under one roof.

Donna Ockenden, who published the damning review of failings at the Shrewsbury and Telford trust, was last month announced as Chair of the independent review into maternity services at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS.

Seventy families will take part in the review, after an investigation found that 46 babies suffered brain damage and 19 were stillborn at the trust between 2010 and 2020.

Meanwhile, under the 'Tomorrow's NUH' programme, proposals are currently being considered to house maternity and neonatal services alongside fertility and gynaecology in a new, state of the art women and children's hospital at the Queen’s Medical Centre. Currently, maternity care is split between QMC and City hospital sites on opposite sides of the town.

The programme has been described as a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity after Nottingham University Hospitals was chosen as one of 40 major hospitals to be funded by the Government to make the changes. but the proposals have been criticised as insensitive, not only because of cultural divisions between the two sites but also for potentially forcing people with fertility issues into close contact with new mothers and babies.

Councillor Michelle Welsh (Lab) accused the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) of 'moving the deckchairs at a time when you should not be', given the current ‘inadequate’ rating of maternity services by the Care Quality Commission. She also said the trust should not be jumping the gun with the proposals.

'You could move all the maternity services tomorrow and it would not improve the care of women and babies at NUH. That’s a fact,' she said.

The plans are still being considered and must go through a public consultation before they are confirmed.

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