To compound the widespread horror following investigations into catastrophic maternity and neonatal failings at East Kent, Nottingham and Shrewsbury and Telford Trusts, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has now admitted that more than half of NHS maternity units in England are considered inadequate or requiring improvement.
The CQC, itself the independent watchdog meant to continually investigate and push for improvements in healthcare, has rather belatedly acknowledged that we are in the midst of an 'unacceptable' crisis in maternity services.
In its annual report published last week, the CQC classed 54 per cent of urgent and emergency services as inadequate or requires improvement, with inspectors singling out maternity services as particularly concerning, reporting that problems have become 'systemic' across the health service and that failing to listen to women and infighting between staff is putting lives at risk.
Ian Trenholm, chief executive of CQC, said that failings in East Kent are not an isolated case, because two out of five maternity services are sub-standard.
"We have deep concerns about some types of care. The quality of maternity care is not good enough. Action to ensure all women have access to safe, effective and truly personalised maternity care has not been sufficiently prioritised to reduce risk and help prevent tragedies."
I don't think any of us could think that's an acceptable number." He said.
Could this body, meant to be the heath-care regulator, perhaps have expressed its 'deep concerns' about the quality of care given to mothers and babies sooner, not least since it is now apparent these serious failings have been endemic for more than 10 years, during which time CQC inspectors were presumably conducting regular checks?
To the families grieving the loss of their babies, it might seem a bit rich for the so-called health-care regulator to only now be commenting after three other independent inquiries (Ockenden and Kirkup) revealed the stark reality.
Read more about our birth injury claims.
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